Dealing with the IRS is stressful for most taxpayers, but getting help may be easier than you think. The IRS offers a process to help taxpayers resolve their tax disputes faster, easier and with less stress. If you are in a dispute with the IRS, you can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), to speak with an advocate who will assist you with your issue. There are TAS offices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The TAS is an independent organization within the IRS. They are there to help resolve issues and inform taxpayers about their rights.
According to the TAS, a tax dispute falls into one of the following categories:
The TAS is generally reserved for taxpayers who have tried to resolve the problem through normal IRS processes but are experiencing severe difficulties or hardship using the regular channels.
Here’s an example. A young, single mother receives a letter in the mail from the IRS stating that she owes more than a thousand dollars (note that the IRS never initiates communication with taxpayers over the phone). She is young, inexperienced with tax related nuances, and has limited time and resources. She tries to reach the IRS during her lunch breaks unsuccessfully for several days. Finally, she calls an advocate at the Taxpayer Advocate Service. The representative asks the mother to verify the social security numbers of her children. And, sure enough, she transposed one of the numbers. The agent tells the mother exactly how she can resolve the problem, and her refund was issued within a week.
What can you expect when you call the TAS? While it depends on your particular situation, you can expect that the representative will be responsive, polite and will provide an assessment of how long it will take to resolve your issue. You can expect a follow up call to see how well you are doing with the information they provided, and a quick resolution whenever possible.
Should you decide to contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service for help, be prepared with the following information:
Be sure to note the name and IRS number of the TAS advocate. They are required to identify themselves by their number. You will need to refer to it if you need to call back or follow up later. To learn more about the Taxpayer Advocate Service, visit the IRS website. Or, call the IRS at 1-877-777-4778. You can also complete Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance, and fax or mail it to your State’s office, which you can locate on the IRS website.
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