Taxpayer advocate service

Where to go for help when you don’t know where to turn.

Most of us have gone through the tedious task of filing our federal and state taxes; keeping our fingers crossed, hoping to receive a refund. But what do you do if a tax problem arises and for some reason you are unable to resolve the issue with the IRS? That is where the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) comes in. Their job is to make sure you are treated fairly and make sure you understand and know your rights. The TAS offers free guidance when your problem with the IRS causes financial difficulty, immediate adverse action, or the IRS has failed to respond to you in a timely manner. Each state has at least one TAS Michigan’s TAS contact information is:

            Local Taxpayer Advocate Michigan
            500 Woodward, Stop 07, Suite 1000
            Detroit, MI 48226
            Phone: 313-628-3670
            Fax: 855-827-2634
            Toll Free: 1-855-827-2634

According to TaxPayerAdvocate.irs.gov, the IRS has adopted ten rights known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. They are designed to be clear and understandable and apply to all taxpayers when dealing with issues surrounding the IRS. The ten rights are as follows:

  1. Be informed: you have the right to be informed and are entitled to explanations regarding laws, procedures, forms, publications, etc. that are understandable.
  2. Quality service: assistance should be prompt, courteous and professional when you deal with the IRS. You also can file complaints if you feel the service is inadequate.
  3. Pay no more than the correct amount of tax: tax payments should be applied properly and you have the right to only pay the appropriate amount due.
  4. Challenge the IRS’s position and be heard: You have the right to provide additional evidence and object to IRS actions. The IRS must consider any objections in a fair and timely manner.
  5. Right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum: As a taxpayer, you have the right to appeal most IRS decisions and receive responses to appeals in writing. Also, generally, you can take your case to court.
  6. Finality: You have the right to know the maximum time to challenge a decision, max amount of time the IRS can audit a tax year and to know when the audit is finished.
  7. Privacy: The IRS will comply with the law and will respect your rights to due process.
  8. Confidentiality: Information you as a taxpayer provide will not be disclosed unless you authorize it.
  9. Retain representation: Just like in a court of law, you have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one you may be eligible for assistance from a taxpayer clinic.
  10. Fair and just tax system: You have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if you are having financial difficulty and the IRS has not resolved your tax issue.

Please visit www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov for more in-depth descriptions of the above taxpayer rights along with additional useful information regarding the advocate service.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial management and home ownership education classes. For more information or classes in your area, visit either http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events or www.mimoneyhealth.org.

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