Need Help with Your Tax Troubles?
Dealing with tax issues can be frustrating, confusing, and frightening.
The IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service is made up of individuals who are knowledgeable about the inner workings of the IRS but aren’t directly employed by the IRS. These professionals can advise you regarding your best options.
What Is the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service?
A taxpayer advocate is a member of an independent government office that provides help to citizens who have encountered issues with the IRS.
The IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service is entirely separate from the IRS itself and is outside of its chain of command, ensuring that a taxpayer advocate will remain a neutral third party during disputes.
Over the years, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service has become one of the easiest ways to achieve solid customer service when dealing with the IRS. While the advocate service is not technically a part of the IRS, the service is empowered more to easily conduct research and information regarding your personal tax situation.
Consequently, it can review and analyze your current situation more quickly than the IRS, which may be otherwise backlogged.
In general, both the IRS and the IRS advocate program want to help citizens pay their taxes and pay them on time. Communicating with an advocate service early on is the best way to avoid paying hefty penalties.
When Is an IRS Taxpayer Advocate Necessary?
Are you unsure regarding whether you need a taxpayer advocate? While anyone who needs help with their current tax situation can consult with an advocate, there are some situations more well-suited than others:
- If you have a lien being filed against your property or if your wages are being garnished.This is the type of situation that usually needs to be resolved quickly; a taxpayer advocate can help.
- If you owe a significant amount of money. Once you owe a certain amount of money to the IRS, it becomes very important to contact them as soon as possible. Otherwise, the situation can quickly get worse.
- If your tax problem spans multiple offices. If you’ve been bounced around from department to department in the IRS, contacting a taxpayer advocate can help you drill down to the right department to contact.
- If you know you aren’t going to be able to pay your bill. A taxpayer advocate service can negotiate on your behalf, if you need to go on a payment plan or if you need some additional time to pay.
- If you have a unique or complex situation. The advocate service is often applied to situations that are unique; if you’ve found yourself in a tax situation that you’ve never heard of before, an advocate service can help.
- If you’ve been trying to fix a single problem for a long time. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a situation resolved unless you get someone on the phone who can fix it for you.
In general, a taxpayer advocate may be necessary any time you’re having difficulties getting things done with the IRS — or if you’re having a hard time getting in touch with them at all.
Most importantly, a taxpayer advocate is a neutral party who attempts to find the best solution for everyone involved, rather than taking the side of the IRS.
There are times, however, when an advocate service may not be strictly necessary.
If you just have a simple question regarding your taxes — or you haven’t contacted the IRS yourself yet — you may want to give the IRS a chance to resolve the situation before you turn to the advocate program.
How do I contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service?
- You can call this toll-free number to find out if TAS can help you: 1-877-777-4778
- Each state has at least one Local Taxpayer Advocate who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate. Click here to find an advocate in your local state.
How Can a Taxpayer Advocate Help You?
- A taxpayer advocate can review your current situation and give you the appropriate options, such as either paying off the IRS on a payment plan or filing for an amended return to correct issues.
- Further, a taxpayer advocate can connect you with individuals in the IRS who have the authority to help you with some of your problems, making it much faster to resolve a problem.
- Taxpayer advocates often work with individuals who are currently experiencing unique problems, or those who have experienced exceptional circumstances — such as having a string of medical problems within a single year. A taxpayer advocate will consider your full story and attempt to help where they are able.
- Workers within the IRS are often able to use their own judgment when it comes to things such as waiving fines and penalties or extending a due date. Sometimes the IRS may not listen — in that situation, a taxpayer advocate can help.
- If you’ve never been late on your payments or never experienced a problem with the IRS before, they are more likely to be lenient.
Further, taxpayer advocate service reviews can be used to potentially identify issues with an individual’s return, which includes issues that will ultimately benefit the individual.
When the IRS corrects a tax return, it is not always a negative: sometimes the error comes out on the side of the client. If you feel you may have issues with your tax return, you can consult with the service.