The Taxpayer Advocate

 

What is taxpayer assistance? If you feel that you are experiencing significant hardship as a result of some IRS action, you might request assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate. The Taxpayer Advocate is a quasi-independent branch of the IRS, mandated by Congress to protect taxpayers against the harsh application of the tax laws.

Each state should have at least one Taxpayer Advocate, with offices separate from the IRS and, in general, staffed by non-IRS employees. The Taxpayer Advocate can be a powerful ally, but should only be used when you are facing imminent hardship or have exhausted most other administrative remedies.

Today, there are entire law firms and private tax advocate organizations who for a fee will represent you and negotiate with the IRS on your behalf. They sometimes take a percentage of what they save for you and require that your tax debt be in excess of $10,000. Some of them work on a flat fee basis.

The taxpayer advocates office will usually not require a minimum tax debt since they are paid by the public to assist those taxpayers who cannot afford to retain separate representation.

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