IRS Taxpayer Advocate: An ally on the inside
When all of your efforts at resolution with the IRS have failed, and your frustrations have reached a boiling point, intervention from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate can help.
The IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service is just that – an independent operation inside the IRS charged with solving taxpayer problems and advocating on their behalf to the IRS.
When your IRS situation is dire, when everything else has failed, when the IRS is not responding or listening, or are not following their own guidelines or legal procedures – that is the time to bring in the IRS Taxpayer Advocate.
In other words, the Taxpayer Advocate is your friend at the IRS, an ally on the inside.
If you can prove to the IRS that any of the following situations are impacting you, we can request that the IRS Taxpayer Advocate open a case and intervene to help get you relief:
1. The problem you are experiencing with the IRS is about to put you in financial distress. This could include the likelihood that the IRS’s failures are about to result in a levy on your paycheck or bank account and you will not be able to pay your rent. Or maybe you have received an IRS letter stating that you owe them money when you do not. But no one at the IRS is listening to your protestations.
2. The IRS has put you under an immediate threat of adverse action. For example, an IRS Revenue Officer may have made a demand for financial records and not given you enough time to complete the request, and is getting ready to levy your paycheck as a result. You simply need a little more time, and need the IRS Taxpayer Advocate to help slow the Revenue Officer down so you can comply.
3. If the Taxpayer Advocate does not intervene and help, you will incur significant costs. This could include having to file an appeal of the IRS threatened act – an appeal that would not be necessary if the IRS Taxpayer Advocate stepped in to help. Significant costs can also include the results of an IRS action, such as a levy or seizure.
4. You could suffer irreparable injury or long-term adverse impact if your problem is not immediately solved. For example, the IRS is about to file a tax lien against you, hurting your credit and ability to qualify for a loan to pay the IRS off. All requests to stop the lien have been ignored by the IRS; the Taxpayer Advocate could intervene to put the lien on hold for you.
5. You have tried to resolve your IRS problem, but have experienced a delay of more than 30 days. In other words, you have tried, but no one is responding or listening and the system is breaking down on you.
6. The IRS promised resolution to you by a certain date, and you have not received it. This often puts you harm’s way and on the road to financial distress if the status quo remains – usually resulting in some type of economic harm, like in #1,#2, #3 or #4, above.
7. An IRS system or procedure has either failed to operate as intended, or failed to resolve your problem or dispute within the IRS. For example, the IRS has 10 years to collect a debt from you, but their internal systems have miscalculated the end date, and they are pursuing you for a debt that you should no longer owe. The Taxpayer Advocate has access to fix internal, administrative IRS errors.
8. The manner in which the tax laws are being administered raise considerations of equity, or have impaired or will impair your rights. You have rights with the IRS – including the right to notice before the IRS can levy you, the right to have IRS letters delivered to the address you give the IRS, the right to appeal most every IRS decision, and the right to have a professional meet with the IRS and handle negotiations for you. If your rights are being denied, and no one at the IRS is listening, the Taxpayer Advocate can help set matters straight.
A case be opened with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate by filing Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance. Yes, the form is a 911 – indicating an emergency situation where help is immediately needed. It usually takes the Taxpayer Advocate 3-5 days to review the request, accept our case, and get to work.
Better yet, while the Taxpayer Advocate is working with us, any IRS action to collect the debt from you should be put on hold – that includes levies on your wages and accounts. This provides immediate relief and some breathing room while we work to get your underlying problem solved.
The Taxpayer Advocate will assign our case to a local caseworker, who will stay with us and the case until the case is resolved.
Although the Taxpayer Advocate can be very effective in fixing IRS problems when all else has failed, they cannot force the IRS to do certain things, like accept an offer in compromise if there is no basis for it. The best case for the Taxpayer Advocate is when systemic IRS problems negatively affect you, when you are experiencing or about to experience some type of distress, and when the IRS refuses to follow their own procedures and the tax laws.
The Taxpayer Advocate is a valuable tool with strong access to the inside of the IRS, to cut through red tape, and alleviate situations where the system has broke, the IRS is not listening or responding, and you are experiencing hardship.