IRS Trouble? Have You Called the Taxpayer Advocate Service?


Are you and your business encountering trouble with the IRS? If you’re going through the standard IRS channels, but don’t feel like your ongoing tax problem is being resolved, you can get help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent program within the IRS. Its job is to help with tax problems that the normal IRS channels have not been able to resolve. These problems should be handled quickly and fairly. At the national level, the program is overseen by the National Taxpayer Advocate, and there is at least one local Taxpayer Advocate in each state. These local advocates work directly for the National Taxpayer Advocate, and are not affiliated with the local IRS office.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is there to provide a voice for you, protecting your rights and reducing your burdens when you’re being treated unfairly. There are two main tasks that the service has, which are 1) helping individuals resolve their tax problems, and 2) identifying ways in which the tax code creates problems for taxpayers in general and increases the burden on them. Once these areas are identified the service is responsible for bringing them to the attention of IRS management and working on legislative proposals to correct them.

Who Can Use This Service?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is specifically there to help taxpayers who are encountering specific issues with the IRS system, or are in difficult financial straits as a result of the tax laws. If you find yourself in one of the following situations due to the normal application of tax laws, you can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service for help:

  • If you are currently or are about to suffer a significant hardship,
  • If you face an adverse action,
  • If you anticipate a large cost, particularly fees for professional representation in a tax case,
  • If you are facing a long-term negative impact or even an irreparable injury,
  • If you have been trying to resolve an issue and have been delayed for more than 30 days,
  • If you have tried all the standard procedures, but they have operated incorrectly and failed to resolve your issue, or
  • If you have not gotten any response or resolution by a previously agreed-upon date.

When you submit your situation to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, it will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. There are no hard-and-fast rules. Understand, also, that the service does not replace formal IRS procedures and legal appeals. The advocate will assist you and support you in your case, but cannot reverse a legal decision or technical tax determination.

What Do You Need to Do?

If you think the Taxpayer Advocate Service can help you, you need to get together all the important information that the advocate will need to help you. This includes:

  • Your name, address, and identification number (Social Security Number or an employer identification number).
  • Contact information, including your telephone number and the hours you are available.
  • A description of the problem or hardship you are dealing with.
  • The type of tax return and the year or years involved with your dispute.
  • Any previous attempts you have made to solve the problem, including the office you dealt with.

The advocate will be able to provide a fresh eye looking at your problems in a timely manner. If the advocate is able to help, you’ll get updates on the progress, a reasonable time frame for resolution, and contact information to the individuals handling your case.

You can learn more about the Taxpayer Advocate Service by visiting their website,, or calling the service’s toll-free phone number at 1-877-777-4778.

Rick Gossett

Rick Gossett

Rick Gossett has been COO of Tarkenton Companies for more than 20 years and is an expert in business operations, responsible for business software development, unique partnerships, business educational content, consulting, and more. Rick was the originator of Tarkenton Companies’ consulting services and, initially, personally answered every question. Before joining Tarkenton Companies, Rick owned and operated a private practice as a CPA. Prior to that, he was a Senior Manager at Pannell Kerr Foster in tax and audit, as well as Principal in Ernst & Young’s small business advisory group.