When everything else fails, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is there to help
Nobody desires to have an issue with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (IRS). It is almost as if you are a tiny mouse attempting to defend yourself against a big bad tiger. Getting a real, live agent to talk to you on the phone about your problem can be a process that is time-consuming and, at times, results in no resolution. Even if you hire a professional to prepare your taxes, there is still a possibility that you will run into difficulties.
In order to address this concern, the IRS established a separate organization. It provides assistance to taxpayers who are dealing with significant issues that they have been unable to resolve by making direct contact with the agency.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) established the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) in 1996 with the intention of assisting taxpayers who were having significant issues with the IRS.
- Within the IRS, the TAS operates as a separate and autonomous organization.
- There is no charge for assistance; however, eligibility is contingent on meeting certain requirements, such as demonstrating that your issue with the IRS negatively impacts your finances.
- When you need assistance, you can get in touch with TAS by calling (877) 777-4778 on your phone, or you can fax or mail in Form 911.
What does it mean to be advocated for as a taxpayer?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a separate entity known as the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). It was established to assist individuals and businesses alike in situations in which they had been unsuccessful in making contact through more conventional means.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service also addresses major concerns that are of concern to the general population of taxpayers. The report refers to these problems as “systemic” or “big picture” problems. It is possible that it will suggest changes to legislative and administrative policies in order to address these issues.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service maintains a presence in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, with at least one office in each state.
Residents of United States territories located in the Pacific, such as American Samoa and Guam, are encouraged to get in touch with the Taxpayer Advocate Service office in Hawaii.
The people eligible for assistance have attempted to resolve issues directly with the IRS but have been unsuccessful and are now suffering “economic harm” or “high cost” due to their inability to do so. According to the Internal Revenue Service, “economic harm” can refer to circumstances in which an individual is unable to afford the services of a professional representative despite their best efforts.
Assistance is provided at no cost. If you are accepted into the Taxpayer Advocate Service program, you will be assigned an advocate who will work to solve your problem. The advocate will examine the data, conduct research on the situation, and communicate with the Internal Revenue Service on your behalf. This may involve arguing or mediating on your behalf, depending on the nature of the case. It will involve submitting any paperwork or forms that the IRS requires to fix the issue.
In addition, taxpayers might be given some guidance on how to stay clear of potential issues in the future. The confidentiality of any and all information you share with your advocate is always ensured.
Who is Eligible to Receive Assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service?
TAS will take on your case if you are currently experiencing either a financial or a systemic burden. If it believes that your rights and guarantees of equitable treatment are being threatened, it will be of assistance to you. In order to qualify for assistance from the TAS, having a low income is not one of the requirements. Anyone, including a corporation or a charitable organization, can be eligible.
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC), which provides assistance to low-income taxpayers earning no more than 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines amount, has different eligibility requirements than the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), which has its own set of requirements for qualifying for assistance. Depending on how much money you bring in each year, you might have to pay a nominal fee to receive LITC assistance. TAS does not impose any restrictions of this kind.
Someone working for TAS will make the final determination regarding whether or not to provide assistance. The following are some instances where it is likely that the TAS will do so:
- Your problem is a race against the clock in the context of potential financial damage: If you are currently confronted with an imminent risk of actions that will have a detrimental effect on you, you may be eligible for assistance from the TAS.
- The Internal Revenue Service is not providing you with accurate information regarding the particulars of your case when they speak with you: If you were told that the IRS would respond to an issue by a certain date and they failed to do so by that date, then the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) could become involved.
- The typical approaches that the IRS uses to solve problems have been compromised: When there is an error in the processes or protocols used by the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is more likely to take on your case.
- Your circumstances are unique: If you have a unique situation that isn’t adequately addressed by federal tax law, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) may get involved and propose legislative or administrative changes to resolve the issue in order to help you.
Reporting of Systemic Concerns by the Taxpayer Advocate Service
Every year, the individual in charge of the Taxpayer Advocate Service provides two reports to Congress. One of these reports is an annual report that details at least ten of the most significant issues facing taxpayers. The effects of COVID-19 were partially to blame for the problems that the Taxpayer Advocate Service detailed in the 2020 report. These issues originated from the insufficient resources available within the IRS to bring on new staff members.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I get in touch with the Taxpayer Advocate Service?
You can reach the Taxpayer Advocate Service by dialing the national number, which is 877-777-4778. You may also send your finished Form 911 via mail or fax. This is the form you should use to request assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service formally.
Is Taxpayer Advocate Service open in 2022?
As 2022 progresses, TAS will continue to experience some service disruption due to COVID-19. As of February 2022, all of TAS’s physical offices remained closed, but the organization can still be reached by phone, fax, or regular mail. The assistance is still available whenever it is needed from the service.