Tax Insights

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The Taxpayer Advocate Service: A voice for the taxpayer

Rarely are the words “I really enjoyed working with the Internal Revenue Service to resolve that issue” spoken. Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service can be an intimidating and frustrating experience. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is available to help you navigate problem resolution with the IRS. As part of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the National Taxpayer Advocate was directed by Congress to appoint at least one local taxpayer advocate for each state. As a result of the directive, the IRS created the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is designed to help individual and business taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and help ensure the Taxpayer Bill of Rights that was formally adopted by the IRS in 2014, is being enforced. The service is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate. The Taxpayer Advocate Service works to resolve problems for qualifying taxpayers by ensuring that the problems they are having, which have not been resolved through normal channels, are promptly and impartially handled. The service assists taxpayers who are facing hardships by bringing issues to the attention of IRS management that compromise taxpayers’ rights, increase taxpayers’ burdens, or create problems for taxpayers. The Taxpayer Advocate Service also makes recommendations on administrative and legislative changes in their annual report to Congress.

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The Taxpayer Advocate Service is available to assist taxpayers who are suffering or are about to suffer a significant hardship, have tried contacting the IRS repeatedly with no response, or have not received a response by the date promised. The taxpayer should expect the Advocate to provide an impartial and independent review of the problem, timely acknowledgement, updates on the progress and a time frame for action on the problem. The Advocate will provide their name and a phone number and also advice on how to prevent future problems.

There are a number of ways to reach your Taxpayer Advocate. IRS Publication 1546 contains a directory of the local offices by state and their location. Telephone and fax numbers are listed for each local office. The Service may also be reached by calling the toll-free number 1-877-777-4778. In addition, you may file Form 911 to request Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance. The form and Publication 1546 are available on the IRS website at www.irs.gov.

If you experience a problem in resolving your situation with the Internal Revenue Service, it should be a comfort to know that there is help available. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is a free service and truly is designed to be your voice at the IRS. As the IRS Publication states, “The worst thing you can do is nothing at all!”

Please contact your Henry+Horne advisor with any questions.

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