TAS Tax Tip: Tax Pro Tips for working with the Taxpayer Advocate Service
Whether its during filing season or after, we get lots of questions about when to come to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), how we can help, and what information you may need to have ready to talk to us when you do need assistance. The following tips will help answer those questions.
When to Contact Us
The Taxpayer Advocate Service works in two main ways:
- helping with individual taxpayer problems, and
- recommending “big picture” or systemic changes at the IRS or in the tax laws.
In most instances, federal tax account issues can be resolved by working directly with the IRS. Issues involving State taxes must be worked through your respective State agencies.
Clients’ cases are generally eligible for our help if an IRS problem is causing financial difficulty or if attempts to resolve issues with the IRS fail.
- Our priority is always helping the taxpayers who need us most. So, please review our case eligibility information before contacting TAS.
Preparing for Contact with Us
Representation information: Publication 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney, rules apply to working with TAS too. When representing any taxpayer before the IRS, you need to have a valid Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative on file with the IRS for the tax years or periods and issues for which you are representing the taxpayer. Please have a copy of your form ready for verification. If more than one person at the firm is authorized to represent the taxpayer, please let us know who will be designated as the main contact.
If the taxpayer has designated you to inspect and/or receive the taxpayer’s confidential tax information by signing Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, you can interact with TAS for the type of tax and years or periods listed on the form, but you will not be treated as the taxpayer’s authorized representative. Thus, if you wish to advocate on behalf of the taxpayer and provide representation for the taxpayer, you and the taxpayer must complete Form 2848 instead.
- Client Information: Be ready to provide all client information, including but not limited to; taxpayer Identification numbers, copies of tax returns or forms involved, copies of IRS letters or Notices, etc. Be sure to obtain the taxpayer’s signature, if needed, on all forms.
What to Expect When Working with Us
If the case qualifies:
- a case advocate will be assigned for the duration of the case.
- contact will be made within seven days (or less) from the date you contacted us or the date your inquiry was referred to us.
- An estimated completion date will be provided based on the time it takes the IRS to resolve similar issues. Be aware, this is only an estimate and can change depending on IRS actions needed and timely responses to requests for information.
Requests for documentation
- We may require documentation or additional information to resolve the inquiry. If so, we will request it when we call. Your prompt reply will ensure we can continue to advocate for you and your client. If we are continuously unable to reach you by phone or by letter, our office may be required to contact the taxpayer directly or possibly close the case.
Case status updates
- Case advocates are responsible for keeping you informed of their progress throughout the case. However, be aware that we cannot leave tax information on a representative’s answering machine or voicemail, even if requested to do so. You will also be provided with a clear, complete, and correct explanation of what actions were taken to resolve the problem when we are done.
Please understand that in many instances, the Taxpayer Advocate Service must rely on the IRS to take the action needed to resolve the issue. Our role is to ensure that actions are completed accurately and expeditiously and that the taxpayer’s rights have been protected.
How to Contact Us
You can find local office information on our website at https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/contact-us or call us at 1-877-777-4778.
- Please note although we usually work cases by geographic locations, your case may be worked by a TAS office in another state. This will not delay contact or resolution. We are simply ensuring the inventory is spread as evenly as possible across TAS offices to be able to timely work the case.
Available TAS Resources
Our website has:
- Get Help pages, with steps to help you work directly with the IRS to resolve a variety of issues.
- News and Information page, has the latest TAS Tax Tips, TAS news items and more, including information on local Problem Solving Days.
- A Tax Professional news page.
- A Blog, where the National Taxpayer Advocate discusses various tax topics and concerns.
- The Taxpayer Roadmap, a high level illustration of the various stages of tax return preparation, processing, and disputes with the IRS.
You can also follow us on social media:
Our Message to You
TAS’s mission is to advocate on behalf of taxpayers. So as the taxpayer’s representative, TAS will advocate with you on your client’s behalf and be Your Voice at the IRS when needed.
Additional TAS Resources
Other TAS Program
Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC) are an alternative resource for certain taxpayers who may not be able to afford representation or who need assistance understanding their taxpayer rights and responsibilities because they speak English as a second language.
Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) is a group of volunteers dedicated to helping the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identify ways to improve customer service by listening to the public and offering suggestions for improvement.