The Tax Advocate Service, an independent office of the Internal Revenue Service, offers free services to eligible taxpayers who need help with federal tax issues. Tax Advocates function as the voice of taxpayers, businesses and individuals, who have difficulty resolving IRS issues on their own. Before you contact the Tax Advocate Service, it helps to understand the types of issues a Tax Advocate can assist with and the information she will need to get started.
When Your Efforts Fail
The Taxpayer Advocate Service, or TAS, helps taxpayers who have tried unsuccessfully to resolve IRS issues. If you have contacted the IRS repeatedly and have not received a response or a satisfactory resolution, the Tax Advocate can intervene on your behalf to get answers. The TAS helps to ensure that taxpayers understand and receive the full benefit of the 10 fundamental taxpayer rights adopted by the IRS. Those rights include the right to quality service, the right to be heard and to challenge, an IRS decision and the right to pay only the amount of tax owed.
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Types of Problems TAS Handles
The TAS helps with issues that can cause taxpayers serious financial difficulties if not resolved. For example, taxpayers can contact the TAS if an IRS action will cause undue financial hardship -- for example, it can help a taxpayer with removal of an IRS levy on his wages. Tax Advocates also help victims of crime, such as taxpayers who were defrauded by a tax preparation service or victimized by identity theft.
How to Contact TAS
Each state has one or more TAS offices that function independently of local IRS offices and report to the National Taxpayer Advocate. Visit the IRS or TAS website to find the telephone number and address for each TAS office by state. The IRS provides Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance, on its website. You then complete the form and fax or mail it to your local TAS office. You also may contact the IRS at 1-877-777-4778 with questions about the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
Your Tax Advocate
You should hear from the TAS office no more than one week after you submit Form 911. If a week passes with no contact, call your local TAS office. If the TAS office decides it can help with your issue, one Tax Advocate assigned to your case will work with you throughout the process. Contact the TAS and submit the form as quickly as possible, especially if you need relief before a specific date to avoid financially damaging consequences. Your Tax Advocate might be able to get certain IRS actions, such as filings and seizures, stopped while he works on your request for assistance.
Low Income Tax Clinic
The Taxpayer Advocate Service provides assistance to low-income taxpayers who cannot afford representation for tax litigation, appeals, audits or other legal disputes with the IRS. Taxpayers for whom English is a second language also are eligible for the service. The Low Income Tax Clinic, or LITC, provides free help or charges a fee based on the taxpayer's income. The IRS considers income and family size when determining eligibility for LITC services. Taxpayers whose income exceeds the maximum income levels set by the IRS are not eligible for LITC services. The IRS website provides a table of allowable income levels and a listing of LITC offices around the country.