The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, more commonly referred to, as the Taxpayer Advocate Service is an autonomous organization within the Internal Revenue Service. The office was originally created under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, an act of the United States Congress, which went into law on July 30, 1996. Further, the office replaced the previous Office of the Ombudsman within the IRS. As a result, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is there to help taxpayers experiencing an economic hardship or to help resolve systematic or procedural problems within the Internal Revenue Service.
If a taxpayer is unable to provide financially for themselves or their family because
of an action and/or inaction by the Internal Revenue Service, then the taxpayer can file a Form 911 requesting intervention by the Taxpayer Advocate Service. However, just because Form 911 is filed and the Taxpayer Advocate Service intervenes, it does not mean that the situation will be resolved in the taxpayer’s requested manner. The Taxpayer Advocate Service still has rules to follow and the taxpayer still has specific tasks that must be completed in order to come to an amicable resolution.
Currently, the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate employs approximately 2,000 employees, of which 1,400 are Case Advocates. Case Advocates do the hands on work and assist taxpayers in resolving their issues with the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, within the Taxpayer Advocate Service is the Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) who represent low-income individuals in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service, including audits, appeals, collection matters, etc.
Additionally, the Taxpayer Advocate Service identifies problems that exist within the IRS and proposes appropriate changes. Most recently the Internal Revenue Service has adopted an updated Taxpayer Bill or Rights, which was proposed by the National Taxpayer Advocate and it offers a plain and comprehensive explanation of taxpayers’ basic rights.
If you find yourself at an impasse while dealing with the IRS or find yourself running into the same procedural issue over and over, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is where you can turn for help.