The Federal Taxpayer Advocate Service: Your Voice at the IRS

If you find yourself at odds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), locked in a state of suspended inaction, Congress created the Taxpayer Advocate Service, to assist taxpayers with IRS problems. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) was created to assist qualifying taxpayers who have experienced a delay of more than thirty days of resolving their tax issue, or have not received a response to the problem by the date that was promised by the IRS, and are experiencing economic harm from those delays. The service is free, confidential and is available to businesses as well as individuals.

 

Additionally, TAS identifies systemic problems that exist within the IRS and, to the extent possible, propose changes in the administrative practices and identify potential legislative changes which may be appropriate to mitigate such problems. These observations and proposals are presented to Congress each year at the National Taxpayer Advocate’s “Annual Report to Congress.”

The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate was created in 1996 as an outgrowth of the Office of the Taxpayer Ombudsman associated with the passage of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2. The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate was created by Congress to serve as an independent advocate for taxpayers, separate from the IRS. The current National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olsen, was instrumental in developing and implementing the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, adopted by the IRS in June of 2014. The ten fundamental rights are clear, understandable and accessible to taxpayers and IRS employees alike.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights are: (more information about these rights is available at https://www.irs.gov/Advocate).

1) The Right to Be Informed

2) The Right to Quality Service

3) The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax

4) The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard

5) The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum

6) The Right to Finality

7) The Right to Privacy

8) The Right to Confidentiality

9) The Right to Retain Representation

10) The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

Each state has at least one Local Taxpayer Advocate who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate. To find the Taxpayer advocate in your area you can call TAS toll-free at 1-877-777-4778 or https://www.irs.gov/Advocate/Local-Taxpayer-Advocate.

Qualified taxpayers can expect to receive personalized service from a knowledgeable advocate who will listen to your problem, help you understand what needs to be done to resolve it and, stay with you every step of the way until the problem is resolved. You can expect the following from your case advocate:

• His/her name, phone number, and badge number

• Courteous and confidential service

• Timely acknowledgement

• An impartial and independent review of your problem

• Time frames for action

• Updates on progress

• Advice on how to prevent future federal tax problems

 

The information one can expect to provide to the Taxpayer Advocate is:

• Your name, address, Social Security Number (Employer

Identification Number for business cases)

• Your phone number and best times to contact you

• The type of tax return and tax year(s) involved

• A description of your problem or hardship and the steps you took to resolve it with the IRS

 

TAS is an independent agency within the IRS. The law requires each TAS office to secure and maintain means of communication independent of other IRS offices. Each local office has a separate telephone, fax and mailing address.

If you want to authorize another person to discuss or receive information about your issue, you can designate a third party to do so by filing Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization. These forms are available at every IRS local office or can be accessed https://www.irs.gov. or by calling 1-800-829-3676.

Ron Friedman, principal of Ron Friedman, CPA has over fifteen years of tax and accounting experience, most notably in tax resolution matters. He can be reached at 914.830.4369 or ron@ronfriedmancpa.com.

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