The Taxpayer Advocate

This is the second post in the Collection Options series. This series is dedicated to presenting individuals and businesses with options for dealing with outstanding tax obligations.

The Taxpayer Advocate. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an IRS program that provides an independent system to assure that tax problems, which have not been resolved through normal channels, are promptly and fairly handled. Each state has at least one local Taxpayer Advocate, who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate. The goals of the Taxpayer Advocate Service are to protect individual and business taxpayer rights and to reduce taxpayer burden.

Contacting the Taxpayer Advocate. The Advocate’s toll free telephone number is: 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TTD: 1-800-829-4059. A list of Taxpayer Advocate Service offices may be found in Publication 1546.

When can the Taxpayer Advocate Help? Generally, the Taxpayer Advocate Service can help if, as a result of the administration of the tax laws, the taxpayer:
Is suffering, or is about to suffer, a significant hardship;
Is facing an immediate threat of adverse action;
Will incur significant cost (including fees for professional representation);
Will suffer irreparable injury or long-term adverse impact;
Has experienced a delay of more than 30 days to resolve the issue; or
Has not received a response or resolution by the date promised.

Submitting a Request for Help. ; Complete and submit Form 911, Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order. Form 911 may be obtained by downloading it from the IRS Website, or calling the IRS forms-only number, 1-800-829-3676. If Form 911 is not available, send a written request for assistance, or ask an IRS employee to complete a Form 911 on your behalf (in person or over the phone). You may fax a Form 911, Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order (or written request) to your local Taxpayer Advocate.

What information does the Taxpayer Advocate need?
Name, address, and social security number (or employer identification number);
Taxpayer’s telephone number and hours she can be reached;
Taxpayer’s previous attempts to solve the problem, and the office she contacted;
The type of tax return and year(s) involved; and,
Description of the problem or hardship (if applicable).

What Does the Taxpayer Advocate do with the Application? An Application for a Taxpayer Assistance Order requires the Advocate to determine if significant hardship exists and to review the case to determine what action should be taken to relieve the hardship. Enforcement action may be suspended while the case is being reviewed.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is not a substitute for established IRS procedures or the formal Appeals process. The Taxpayer Advocate Service cannot reverse legal or technical tax determinations.

IRS Advocate Service
IRS Advocate Service At-a-Glance
MDR Tax Advocate