The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has developed a Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly and have a clear understanding about their rights.
The role of the Taxpayer Advocate Services is to help taxpayers resolve some of their tax problems and to ensure that a taxpayer’s best interests are represented to the IRS.
Nina Olson is the National Taxpayer Advocate and leads TAS. The National Taxpayer Advocate is appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury, with consultation from the IRS Commissioner and IRS Oversight Board.
So in essence, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is designed to serve as a sort of “safety net” for people who may be having problems with the IRS. That’s why the Taxpayer Advocate Service calls itself “your voice at the IRS.”
Here’s a closer look at how the Taxpayer Advocate Service works:
Getting Tax Help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service
The Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to help you if you fall into one of these four categories:
- You’re experiencing some type of financial difficulty, personal emergency, or hardship and you need the IRS to move faster than it usually does under its usual procedures.
- You need assistance when there are several different IRS units and steps involved, and you need the TAS to coordinate each department’s efforts.
- You’ve tried to resolve a problem through normal IRS channels but those channels have broken down and you haven’t made any progress.
- You’re presenting unique facts or issues and the IRS isn’t listening, doesn’t recognize a need for new guidance given your circumstances, or is using a “one size fits all” approach.
If you fall in one of these categories and qualify for help from the TAS, one specific advocate will be assigned to you to address your concerns. Your advocate will do everything he or she can to make sure your problem is resolved.
The TAS has offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It operates independently within the IRS and has direct access to IRS departments to help in resolving taxpayer problems.
All services from the Taxpayer Advocate Service are free and eligible taxpayers receive very personalized services where the advocate is with them every step of the way.
The TAS can be a very valuable resource for those who aren’t able to get the help or assistance they need with tax-related issues in a timely manner.
Additionally, it’s important to understand that the law requires each TAS office to maintain means of communication independent of other IRS offices. So the local TAS offices all have separate phone separate phone numbers, faxes, and mailing addresses from the IRS.
TAS workers also have the discretion to not disclose your information to the IRS and to maintain your confidentiality where appropriate. Generally, though, if you want specific relief from the IRS or assistance with a personal tax problem, TAX will likely have to disclose certain information to one or more IRS employees.
Reaching a Taxpayer Advocate
You can find a Taxpayer Advocate Service office on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/adovcate. You can also call 1-877-777-4778 toll-free and request that an IRS employee complete Form 911 on your behalf.
Form 911 is the official Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance and Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order.