The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) receives 100+ million calls, 10 million letters, and 5 million visits from taxpayers each year. If the IRS seems too busy to help with your tax problems, you can contact The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) for help. TAS provides assistance to about a quarter million taxpayers each year and resolves a large majority of them. Here are a few common tax problems people face and the best ways to resolve them.
While the IRS has improved and streamlined its help line for tax questions, taxpayers are still facing a fair amount of frustration. Taxpayers call with varying questions ranging from inquiries about their filing status all the way to identity theft. Many of these concerns could be addressed by logging onto the IRS website and reading what’s written regarding the particular issue. However, there are times when you really need to talk to the IRS to find out what’s going on. The best course of action is to make the call during off-peak hours, such as early in the morning and be prepared to be on hold. This means find something else to do while you are waiting for the next agent.
Let’s face it, tax law is complicated, and it’s often difficult for the IRS to translate their letters into normal English where anybody can understand. TAS can be very helpful for these situations. When you call TAS, they will assign a representative to work with you from beginning to end.
Currently, TAS is working on a website that would allow the taxpayer to enter their IRS notice number into the system, and the site will provide explanations on what the letter is about and instructions on how to proceed, in plain language. The site’s launch is expected by the end of the year.
Hire a Good and Reputable Tax Professional
Many problems faced by taxpayers could be prevented by hiring qualified tax preparers. People need to be vigilant with who they hire to prepare their taxes. There are about 1.2 million tax preparers in the country, and most of them are necessarily qualified to do the job. They are not attorneys or CPAs or enrolled agents.
Some tax preparers can make empty, or even dangerous, guarantees. When a preparer tells you that he can get you the biggest refund possible, or that she’s better than everybody else in getting tax refunds, then you have to ask yourself if this too good to be true? These are things where innocent hardworking people get harmed. More often than not, these large refunds are a result of tax fraud, where the preparer claims unsubstantiated tax deductions and credits, and in turn, skims some of the refund money into their own pockets.
We highly recommend people to hire licensed tax professionals, who are educated in tax law. Preferably, hire someone who is licensed, like an attorney, a CPA, or an enrolled agent.