The Taxpayer Advocate, a division of the IRS, has issued a new report recently stating various ways in which the IRS could improve customer service and other areas.
Before we talk about those, what is a taxpayer advocate anyway? There are multiple Taxpayer Advocate offices around the country and their purpose is to assist taxpayers in a variety of ways to ensure that they are being treated fairly and the IRS is following the law.
The Taxpayer Advocate is a really good resource when you have exhausted all of your avenues with the IRS both on the exam side and collections side. In my practice, I typically use the office when a revenue agent or officer or their superiors are not helping the taxpayer and something needs to get resolved. If an agent or officer disappears or fails to do their job, the Advocate is an excellent source of help. They are also helpful when new information comes to light, but it is too late to file a tax court petition or reopen the case.
Back to the latest repott, the head Advocate in D.C. reported that the IRS does a bad job of customer service and informing especially lower income taxpayers of their rights. The Service also needs to do better with recognizing the financial status of certain taxpayers and informing them of tax alternatives such as offer in compromise when it appears that they are not suitable candidates to pay the tax in full via an installment agreement.
The Advocate also states that audit notices are often unclear leading taxpayers to agree to balances owed that they really shouldn’t owe. The IRS fails to screen for ability to pay prior to filing collection actions such as levies.
Finally, the Advocate states that taxpayers that understand the system benefit from it the most.
The best way to help yourself navigate through the confusing IRS morass is to hire someone that understands the IRS and what it attempts to do at every level from the exam stage to collections .That’s where I come in. I have over 10 years experience dealing with the IRS and am here ready and willing to help!