Every business has a department that deals with complaints from customers. At the IRS, this department is known as the taxpayer advocate office.
Advocating for You
The purpose of the taxpayer advocate office is to provide taxpayers with a friendly source to handle customer service issues. The office is run independent of the IRS and has offices at every IRS center in the nation. The taxpayer advocate has a stated goal of resolving your problem with the IRS in seven short days. It doesn’t always happen, but it is a nice goal.
The taxpayer advocate has a surprising amount of power. The advocate agents can rifle through the IRS computers at will, which makes them great at locating filings the IRS claims never occurred. The advocate can also stop collection efforts by the IRS and even release tax liens on your bank account or property. Basically, the advocate office is the place to go when you think you are getting a raw deal from the IRS.
The taxpayer advocate agents do not take just any case. In general, you have to show the IRS is unresponsive to your problem or causing you a major hardship. For instance, if your correspondence to the IRS is not being responded to, the advocate can crack the whip on your behalf. If the IRS puts a lien on your bank account, but you’re in the hospital, the advocate can release it. The advocate, however, does not give tax advice or fight audits for you.
If you wish to get the taxpayer advocate involved in your IRS situation, you should write the office in your area. Just search for taxpayer advocate online to get the location. Your letter should include a concise description of the problem, copies of your supporting documents, copies of what the IRS has sent you and a telephone number where you can be reached. In an emergency situation, you can call the taxpayer advocate by contacting the local IRS office. This should only be done in an emergency.
The taxpayer advocate can help you get things straightened out when dealing with the IRS.
The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic works closely with the Taxpayer Advocate Service when needed, and can consult with you to provide advice regarding your IRS tax issues, and/or potentially act on your behalf for FREE if you qualify for assistance (come to a clinic intake session)!
Jim Floyd is the Staff Enrolled Agent at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
As an Enrolled Agent, Jim is a federally-licensed tax practitioner with unlimited rights to represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service. This means he is unrestricted as to which taxpayers he can represent, what types of tax matters he can handle, and which IRS offices he can represent clients before. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards.
To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits, and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.