Frustrated with the IRS? Try the Taxpayer Advocate Service

Anyone who’s interacted with the IRS lately knows how poorly things are going with the agency—taxpayers can’t seem to get a human being on the other side of the phone. Some of these frustrating delays are due to forces outside the agency’s control, like the pandemic and a shrinking budget, but that doesn’t make taxpayers’ situations any more palatable.

Inattention from the IRS can be more than just frustrating for taxpayers. Not being able to speak to a revenue agent or officer can have devastating financial consequences. If you are in this camp, you might have success working with the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate. Also called the Taxpayer Advocate Service, this independent department within the IRS is designed to help taxpayers who aren’t having the best time with the IRS.

Generally, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) helps taxpayers when the IRS is not following its own procedures. Unfortunately, the TAS does not accept every case involving a frustrated taxpayer. One of the following conditions must be true for your case if you are to have a chance getting your situation resolved with the help of the TAS:

  • The IRS has not called or emailed you back for more than 30 days after you originally contacted somebody about your tax issues;
  • An IRS representative has not reached out to you or resolved your tax situation by the date you were promised;
  • A recent or pending IRS action has put you in financial distress;
  • An expected IRS action will have a long-term or irreversible impact;
  • You will incur significant expenses without prompt intervention from the TAS;
  • Current tax law(s) will infringe on your rights or raise questions about equity;
  • An internal IRS procedure, protocol, or system is not functioning as intended.

Recent note: On Nov. 10, 2021, the TAS published a blog post noting its recent challenges in helping taxpayers. In this post, the TAS explained that it would not be able to help taxpayers whose only issue is having (or needing) an amended tax return. The TAS website has an interactive qualifier tool that is worth using before you contact the department.

Contacting the TAS

As of mid-November 2021, every physical TAS office is closed (the TAS has at least one office in every state). The toll-free, national number for the TAS is 1-877-777-4778. You may also fill out Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance. The TAS will assign you a Case Advocate if the office decides to take on your case.

Although the TAS is incredibly helpful for many taxpayers, this independent IRS office does not accept every request for help. Almost every type of tax dispute has a better chance of getting resolved with the help of an experienced tax attorney.

Attorney Robert V. Boeshaar has years of experience assisting taxpayers with tax disputes. Attorney Boeshaar formerly worked within the IRS, providing clients who work with his firm with an unmatched perspective. Contact the firm today to get started.

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