Who is the Taxpayer Advocate Service?
Written by Peter McFarland, Esq. on 4/1/2014
Did you know that the IRS has a special wing within its operations whose sole purpose is to provide oversight and intervene when the IRS is acting unfairly or causing undue delay? The IRS has its own safety-valve, called the Taxpayer Advocate Service, that every taxpayer can contact when the normal channels of dealing with the IRS either do not work or failed to accomplish the intended result.
The National Taxpayer Advocate
The National Taxpayer Advocate is the individual in charge of the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury, he or she is charged with a dual role: first, he or she is to assist taxpayers with resolving disputes with the Service and he or she is also directed to protect the rights of taxpayers. The National Taxpayer Advocate reports regularly to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees without any prior review or input from the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Further, the National Taxpayer Advocate cannot have been employed by the IRS for the two years preceeding appointment, nor may the individual work for the IRS for five years after ceasing to be the National Taxpayer Advocate. All of these requirements are meant to ensure that the National Taxpayer Advocate is absolutely neutral and independent from the IRS.
Taxpayers who require assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service do not work directly with the National Taxpayer Advocate. Rather, there are geographic offices which serve all taxpayers within their jurisdiction. You can find your local taxpayer advocate’s contact information at the following link: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-a-Local-Taxpayer-Advocate.
Getting Help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service
If you find yourself in need of immediate assistance, I highly recommend you reach out to a tax professional to assist you and determine if the Taxpayer Advocate Service can help. At Estill & Long, LLC, for instance, we’ve been working closely with Taxpayer Advocate Service for years.
Ultimately, to qualify for assistance the taxpayer must be experiencing an economic harm or significant cost (which can include fees for professional representation) and have experienced a delay for more than 30 days to resolve their tax issue. Alternatively, taxpayers who have not received a response or resolution by the date promised by the IRS qualify for assistance.
The IRS, sometimes intentionally but most often unintentionally, imposes severe burdens on taxpayers by delaying the process of resolving tax issues. Other times, the normal channels of dealing with the IRS just break down. In either case, Taxpayer Advocate Service is meant to step in and address these issues and assist taxpayers in reaching a fair result with the IRS.
If you find yourself at a standstill with the IRS, the attorneys at Estill & Long, LLC can assist you in requesting assistance with the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
About Peter McFarland, Esq.
Peter earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at the University of Denver. After becoming licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado, he earned his Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation at the University of Denver. In his current role, Peter represents taxpayers before the IRS and in the United States Tax Court. He gained valuable experience as an attorney with the University of Denver’s Low Income Tax Clinic during his graduate school studies and has been representing clients at Estill & Long, LLC since his arrival in early 2013.