focuses on protecting taxpayers’ rights. To this end, the IRS has adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (as proposed by Olson) that includes 10 basic rights every taxpayer has when interacting with the IRS. These rights are as follows: 1. The right to be informed. 2. The right to quality service. 3. The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax. 4. The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard. 5. The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. 6. The right to finality. 7. The right to privacy. 8. The right to confidentiality. 9. The right to retain representation. 10. The right to a fair and just tax system. failed to operate as intended or failed to resolve the taxpayer’s problem or dispute within the IRS.
The Role of the TAS in Resolving Taxpayer Issues
TAS has taken a significant role in resolving the day-to-day issues clients and their advisers face. For a case to qualify for taxpayer advocate assistance and for the TAS to operate efficiently and effectively, you must meet one or more of the criteria outlined below.
Best Interest of the Taxpayer
• The manner in which the tax laws are being administered raises considerations of equity or has impaired or will impair the taxpayer’s rights.
• The taxpayer is experiencing economic harm or is about to suffer economic harm. • The taxpayer is facing an immediate threat of adverse action, such as a levy issuance. • The taxpayer will incur significant costs if relief is not granted (including fees for professional representation). • The taxpayer will suffer irreparable financial harm or long-term adverse impact if relief is not granted.
• The taxpayer has experienced a delay of more than 30 days to resolve a tax account problem. • The taxpayer has not received a response or resolution to the problem or inquiry by the date promised. • A system or procedure has either
• The national taxpayer advocate determines that there is compelling public policy that warrants assistance be offered to an individual or group of taxpayers. To initiate a case with the Taxpayer Advocate Service, taxpayers, or an authorized representative, should complete Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance and mail — or, for a quicker response, fax — the request to a local TAS office. With approximately 2,000 employees, the TAS maintains offices in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. You can find a local advocate’s contact information at irs.gov/advocate or in IRS Publication 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service, Your Voice at the IRS. Affected taxpayers may also call the national taxpayer advocate at 877-777-4778 for additional information and assistance.
A taxpayer advocate will generally respond within one week of receiving Form 911. If a taxpayer meets one or more of the previously discussed criteria, the advocate will work to get the problem resolved. The case will be assigned to one particular advocate, enabling the taxpayer or representative to have one main point of contact throughout the process. The worst thing a taxpayer can do is nothing at all. When in doubt, the taxpayer should ask the Taxpayer Advocate Service for help. The TAS will apply its independent judgment to the issue and make a determination as to what would be the proper outcome. The TAS will then interact with the appropriate personnel at the IRS on the taxpayer’s behalf. While there is no guarantee that the outcome will always be satisfactory, the TAS will at least be forthcoming with an explanation of what is beyond its scope. Remember, the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is “your voice at the IRS.” Barry S. Kleiman, CPA, is a principal at Untracht Early LLC. He is a member of the New Jersey Society of CPAs Content Advisory Board and the State Taxation and Federal Taxation interest groups. He can be reached at email@example.com.
NEW JERSEY CPA • NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2016
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