What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service and How Can They Help Me?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service, or TAS, is an independent organization within the IRS. The goal of the Taxpayer Advocate Service is to help make sure that when taxpayers raise issues to the IRS, the IRS hears those issues clearly and addresses them fully.

The IRS has adopted 10 fundamental rights that should be present in all interactions between taxpayers and the IRS. Those 10 fundamental rights are as follows:

  • The Right to be Informed
  • The Right to Quality Service
  • The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax
  • The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and be Heard
  • The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum
  • The Right to Finality
  • The Right to Confidentiality
  • The Right to Retain Representation
  • The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System

The Taxpayer Advocate Service can help taxpayers, whether they are businesses or individuals, understand these rights and ensure the taxpayers are receiving appropriate representation in receiving these rights.

What types of issues can the Taxpayer Advocate Service help me with?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is designed to help make sure taxpayers receive these rights when addressing two main types of issues.

Individual Issues Causing a Taxpayer Financial Difficulty

The main issues addressed by the Taxpayer Advocate Service are those raised by individuals or businesses concerning a specific issue they are facing. These would be issues where the following are true:

  • The problem is causing the taxpayer financial difficulties
  • The taxpayer is facing the immediate threat of adverse action
  • The IRS has not provided a response concerning the issue or has failed to provide a response by the promised date

Tax Problems Affecting More than One Taxpayer

These issues concern problems with the IRS or tax laws that have the following attributes:

  • They affect multiple taxpayers
  • They concern IRS policies or procedures
  • They are causing a violation of taxpayer rights, undue taxpayer burden, or an interruption of taxpayer services

The Systemic Advocacy Management System, or SAMS, is the Taxpayer Advocate Service’s system dedicated to intaking and managing these types of issues.

 

The Taxpayer Advocate Service can help with a variety of issues, including ones like the following example.

A man had reached an offer in compromise settlement with the IRS. To fulfill his end of the agreement, the man had to file tax returns for the previous two years.

However, the man’s wife died shortly after the agreement was reached, and the man experienced several health issues that prevented him from continuing to run his business. The man requested an extension for the filing of the prior tax returns, which the IRS granted to him.

The man continued to make tax payments in accordance with the agreement, but the IRS withdrew the offer in comprise four days after the death of the man’s wife, even though the man had informed the IRS of her death. This resulted in the full balance of back taxes owed being restored. The IRS applied the man’s tax payments to that balance that he believed the IRS had forgiven.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service was able to obtain a refund of the payments and have the IRS restore the offer in compromise, including interest owed to the man by the IRS.

How do I contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service has at least one office located in every state. Taxpayers can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service by call 1-877-777-4778 or visiting the Taxpayer Advocate Service’s web site.

Who can help me with questions when preparing and filing my tax return?

When you have questions while preparing or filing your tax return, you should contact a tax attorney to get answers to those questions. A tax attorney has the training and experience to answer tax questions for the location where you live. A tax attorney is also the only one who can provide the protection of attorney-client privilege.

By calling the phone number at the top of this web site or completing the form below, you can get in touch with a tax attorney. The process takes only a few minutes, so you have every reason to take the first step today to get the help you need.

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by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.