When Do You Need a Taxpayer Advocate?

The IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) helps taxpayers to resolve taxation issues they might have with the IRS. But the service does not handle all cases. Here are some situations where the Taxpayer Advocate Service can help you.

Identity Theft

A 2018 Javelin Strategy & Research fraud study reported that 16.7 million U.S. consumers fell victim to identity fraud in 2017. Fraudsters can affect your tax returns in two significant ways. One, they can use your Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. Secondly, they can use the Social Security number to obtain employment, which will make you appear to have earned more income than you did.

Imagine a situation in which you did not earn any income, so you didn’t file a return. But you receive a letter from the IRS showing wages you received or a balance-due notice. When you inquire with the IRS, you learn that someone had already filed a tax return in your name.

That is when the services of the taxpayer advocate come in handy. The IRS will assign an advocate who will conduct investigations to ascertain your actual income and identify the person who filed the fraudulent return. After concluding the investigation, the advocate will work with the IRS to correct your tax accounts.

When You Face an Economic Burden

A situation might arise when you have filed your return and are eligible for a refund, but it is delayed by the IRS. Your inquiries go unanswered, or you are told to wait as they examine the issue further.

Meanwhile, you are running into financial trouble. You need a quick resolution of your problem, or else your situation will get worse. For example, you might risk an eviction, have your utilities shut off, or be unable to pay for your medical care. That is when you can contact the advocate service to expedite your case.

The advocate will review your documentation to identify the cause of the delay. After resolving the problem, the advocate will work with the IRS to expedite your refund and relieve your economic burden.

To Claim the Earned Income Tax Credit

Take a situation where you and your spouse file jointly for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, but the IRS denies it because you don’t have the documentation to prove residency. You don’t have school or child care records. And worse, even your doctor’s statements are incomplete.

When such a case gets to the advocate, he will work with you to obtain documents that ascertain your relationship. Then he will look for documents to prove residency. For instance, you could use a letter from your landlord and statements from utility companies. The advocate will use these documents to show the IRS that you live with and support the children.

Can you imagine how much relief you will get when your claims are eventually approved?

Tax issues can be challenging to handle, but tax professionals can help you to resolve them easily if you seek their assistance.

Have you ever needed an advocate for your tax return? We would be happy to get your experience in the comments section below.

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