WHAT IS THE Taxpayer Advocate Service

Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that reports to the National Taxpayer Advocate.

BREAKING DOWN Taxpayer Advocate Service

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) assists both businesses and individual taxpayers with tax-related issues. It provides free, confidential and personalized service to taxpayers who need help resolving IRS problems that they have not been able to resolve through normal IRS channels.

The TAS consists of many different employees, including case advocates who directly assist taxpayers in resolving their problems. To qualify for this personal assistance, taxpayers must be experiencing economic harm or significant cost, including fees for professional representation, and have experienced a delay of more than 30 days in resolving their tax issue.

The TAS offers an online tax toolkit designed to educate taxpayers about their rights and responsibilities. The organization also identifies issues that cause burdens for taxpayers and brings them to the attention of the IRS, along with recommendations for legislative and administrative changes. IRS Publication 1546 provides more information about this service.

The Scope of the Taxpayer Advocate Service

Some of the most common issues the TAS assists taxpayers with include identity theft, extensions, problems paying taxes, incorrect tax returns and choosing a tax preparer.  Often times, the TAS helps coordinate cases in which many different IRS units and steps have been involved, and the TAS helps ensure everyone does their part.

Beyond assisting individuals with tax problems, the TAS also works on big-picture issues. The agency reviews patterns in taxpayer issues to determine if an IRS process or procedure is causing a problem, and if so, to recommend steps to resolve the problem. Each year, the National Taxpayer Advocate presents a report to Congress identifying some of the most common and serious problems facing taxpayers, such as tax-related identity and fraud, and outlines key areas in need of policy changes.

The TAS also helps taxpayers know their rights as defined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. These include the right to be informed, especially concerning IRS decisions and outcomes, the right to quality service, the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax, the right to challenge the IRS and be heard, the right to appeal an IRS decision to an independent forum, the right to finality in knowing timelines and deadlines, the right to privacy, the right to confidentiality, the right to representation, and the right to a fair and just tax system.