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IRS Taxpayer Advocate - What it Does

The IRS Taxpayer Advocate helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS. The Taxpayer Advocate also recommends changes to help prevent problems in the future. The Taxpayer Advocate handles those issues when the tax problem is causing significant financial difficulty; when you or your business are facing immediate, adverse threat; and when you have tried to contact the IRS repeatedly to no avail.

The IRS Taxpayer Advocate will particularly help you if the IRS has failed to respond by the date promised. By the writing of this article, the Taxpayer Advocate is referring those taxpayers who are not “facing an imminent threat of enforcement action or otherwise experiencing situations that meet the definition of an economic burden” to “the appropriate IRS function specializing in return processing issues, rather than accepting the problem as a TAS case” (IRS.gov, “Taxpayer Advocate Service, Who We Are,” 8/28/2013).

It is important to note that the IRS Taxpayer Advocate will not handle all of your problems or attempt to resolve all of your difficulties. For the problems it will handle, you must have taken the necessary first steps for each given situation before attempting to request relief. For example, “before the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service will help, you must have made at least two inquiries into the status of your refund, and at least 90 days must have passed since you filed your tax return (or amended tax return)” (TaxAttorneyDaily.com, “Problems the Taxpayer Advocate Will Pursue,” 8/28/2013). Secondly, when you have not received a response to your inquiries, you must have contacted the IRS at least two times before. “At least 45 days must have passed since you made your first inquiry” (“Problems the Taxpayer Advocate Will Pursue”). In terms of IRS notice problems, you must have responded at least two times to an IRS notice “requesting some IRS action. And you must not have received any meaningful IRS response” (“Problems the Taxpayer Advocate Will Pursue”). These are the problems the Taxpayer Advocate will handle.

The problems the IRS Taxpayer Advocate will not handle include those where you have not “followed an IRS-established administrative procedure, such as requesting an appeal” (“Problems the Taxpayer Advocate Won’t Pursue”). In addition, if the problem has no direct correlation to your taxes, the IRS will not help you. For example, the IRS will not take your complaint about a particular IRS personnel member. The Taxpayer Advocate will not take your case if the problem cannot be solved by the IRS, if your case is under criminal investigation, or if you are considered a tax protestor. Lastly, the Taxpayer Advocate will not take your case if your “position is that you cannot or will not pay your tax bill under any circumstances” (“Problems the Taxpayer Advocate Won’t Pursue”). To best understand what cases the IRS Taxpayer Advocate handle, consult your local center.

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