If you’ve not heard of the National Taxpayer Advocate, it’s an organization within the IRS that protects the rights of the taxpayer in tax matters. The position is currently held by Ms. Nina Olson and she answers directly to Congress. Each state is represented by Local Taxpayer Advocates, a group of over 2,000 employees who are autonomous of any nearby IRS office. Each Taxpayer Advocate office communicates with you independently from other IRS offices using a separate phone, fax, and mailing address. They also have the discretion not to disclose to the IRS any information you give them, or even inform the IRS that you’ve contacted them.
So if you have a tax problem that has hit an impasse with the IRS, I would suggest you approach the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). Here are some situations where the TAS would be helpful:
• Where IRS actions prevent you from providing for necessities such as housing, transportation or food
• When you cannot afford the cost of professional legal help to represent you in resolving their tax challenges with the IRS
• If you own a business and are unable to meet basic expenses such as payroll
• If you have been kept waiting more than 30 days to resolve a tax related problem, or are not receiving a response by the date promised
• If you have waited past the deadline that was set by the IRS to resolve your problem, and there is no official word from the IRS on the matter
The TAS has a team of advocates whose job is to give the most relevant advice for faster resolution of a taxpayer’s complaints. To get help from the TAS, you have to fulfill some eligibility criteria. Their services are totally free of charge and ideal for those who cannot afford tax attorneys.
Will contacting the TAS work for you? It has for many taxpayers, so you won’t know till you try. The TAS has offices in every state as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Look them up in the phone book. You can also refer to IRS Publication 1546 for more information about the Taxpayer Advocate Service and find out how the services can help you resolve your tax related problems. Another way to contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service is by filling and submitting the IRS Form 911.