You Have an Advocate Within the IRS

By Elizabeth Rosen

NEW YORK ( — If there’s anything as disconcerting as having the Internal Revenue Service call you about a tax problem, it’s having to call them. Dealing with the IRS is anxiety-inducing for many taxpayers, who already have their plates full with work and family responsibilities. Fortunately, the IRS has a process to help make resolving tax disputes with them easier.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service

If you are involved in a tax dispute with the IRS, you can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service to speak with an advocate who can help you with your problem. TAS offices are located in every state, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

A tax dispute can be addressed using a Taxpayer Advocate if it falls into any of the following categories: you have tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to contact the IRS to resolve the problem; the agency did not respond to your call by the date it promised; the routine IRS channels of communication failed you for any reason; or it’s in your best interest, or that of the IRS, to use the program. The Taxpayer Advocate Service generally caters to taxpayers who are experiencing substantial hardship and financial problems due to tax laws and have not been able to resolve their issue through standard channels.

READ: 4 great tax tips for this year's return

Becky’s experience

Becky Stewart used the service when she got her tax refund in the mail, only to discover the check was hundreds of dollars short — and she could pretty much guess the reason for the problem. Becky suspected that the IRS had failed to allow a tax deduction for the purchase of a personal computer that her employer required her to get for her home use as a telecommuter.