The mission of the Taxpayer Advocate is to:
- Help taxpayers solve problems with the IRS and recommend changes that will prevent those problems from reoccurring
- The Taxpayer Advocates have been folded into the National Taxpayer Advocate Service to establish an independent channel for taxpayers that are having problems with a specific case.
- The Taxpayer Advocate other role is to address systemic problems within the IRS and identifying issues that cause taxpayers problems.
- Taxpayer Advocates provide local points of contact for taxpayers.
- Each state and
also has a Taxpayer Advocate. Service Center
The Taxpayer Advocate
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 strengthened the Taxpayer Advocate and renamed the position the National Taxpayer Advocate.
- The National Taxpayer Advocate is appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the IRS Oversight Board.
- The purpose of the Taxpayer Advocate is to help the taxpayer solve problems with the IRS when the normal processes and procedures do not work.
- The Taxpayer Advocate will usually suspend pending collection action until the issue in question is reviewed.
- As a rule, the sooner the Taxpayer Advocate assistance is requested, the sooner the issue will be resolved.
- Requesting intervention by the Taxpayer Advocate as soon as the necessary criteria are met should be done at the earliest opportunity
- Going forward, the National Taxpayer Advocate must have substantial experience in customer service, tax law and representing taxpayers.
- An individual cannot be the National Taxpayer Advocate if that person was an officer or employee of the IRS during the two-year period ending on the date of appointment- an exception is made for members of the Taxpayer Advocate’s staff .
- The individual must also agree not to accept other employment within the IRS for five years following leaving the position of Taxpayer Advocate.
- Annually, the National Taxpayer Advocate must issue a report to Congress identifying the tax areas which are creating significant compliance burdens for taxpayers or the IRS and how best to resolve those issues.
- The toll free number for the National Taxpayer Advocate is (877) 777-4778
Taxpayer Assistance Orders
A Taxpayer Advocate is authorized to issue a Taxpayer Assistance Order (TAO) if the taxpayer is found to be suffering or about to suffer a significant hardship as a result of the way the tax laws are being administered.
- TAO’s are intended to provide the taxpayer with an easy and inexpensive way to resolve disputes with the IRS
- There purpose is not to contest the law re: the tax liability.
- The TAO procedure is not a substitute for established administrative or judicial review procedures.
- TAO’s can be an effective tool in stopping unreasonable examination or collection activity.
- Often the threat of a TAO is often sufficient to cause a Revenue Agent or Revenue Officer to rethink the proposed course of action.
The TAO process starts with the taxpayer or taxpayer’s representative filing a Form 911
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