From Taxpayer Advocate Services, to the IRS Office of Appeals, here are some resources available for you, if you're navigating an IRS tax dispute. This is a representational image. Unsplash

With tax season in full swing, and the deadline to file them quickly approaching on April 15, it is imperative that taxpayers have accurate documentation and figures to avoid any issues with the government.

Nevertheless, mistakes can happen. Whether you're facing an audit, challenging a tax assessment, or dealing with any other tax-related issues, understanding the steps to effectively negotiate an IRS tax dispute, if it's applicable to your case, it's a must.

From understanding your rights and obligations to seeking professional assistance when needed, here's a comprehensive guide on what you need to know when navigating an IRS tax dispute.

Who to contact for help with your tax dispute

There are different resources available if you need to resolve an IRS tax dispute. Here are some of the most common available resources and how they can help your tax resolution.

Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS and is your voice at the agency.

As its name may suggest, the Taxpayer Advocate Service's job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly, and that they understand their rights. This program offers free help to guide you through the daunting process of resolving IRS tax disputes that you may have not been able to solve on your own.

TAS can help if you can't resolve your problem with the IRS and:

  • Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business.
  • You face an immediate threat of adverse action.
  • You've tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded to you, or the IRS hasn't responded by the date promised.

Each state has at least one Local Taxpayer Advocate Service who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate. Find out more about this service here.

Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs)

Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC) assist low income individuals who have an IRS tax dispute, and provide education and outreach to individuals who speak English as a second language (ESL).

Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics are independent from the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service. These clinics represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to figure out a tax resolution.

They can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics can also help taxpayers respond to IRS notices and correct account problems.

Here are other services these clinics provide:

  • Pro bono representation on behalf of low income taxpayers in IRS tax disputes.
  • Educate low income and ESL taxpayers about taxpayer rights and responsibilities.
  • Identify and advocate for issues that impact low income taxpayers.

Find out more about these services here.

IRS office of appeals

The IRS Office of Appeals is an independent organization within the IRS that helps with tax resolutions without going to tax court. To qualify for these services you must meet the following criteria:

  • You received a letter from the IRS explaining your right to appeal the IRS's decision.
  • You do not agree with the IRS's decision.
  • You are not signing an agreement form sent to you.

If you determine that you meet all of the above conditions, you may request an appeal by filing a written protest. Complete your protest and mail it to the IRS address on the letter that explains your appeal rights, not to the IRS Office of Appeals.

After that, the IRS Examination or Collection office that made a tax assessment or initiated collection action will consider your protest and attempt to resolve the disputed tax issues. If that office can't resolve your issues, they will forward your case to the Office of Appeals for consideration.

Find out more about this process here.

IRS Centralized Lien Operation

A federal tax lien is the government's legal claim against your property when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt. The lien protects the government's interest in all of your property, including real estate, personal property and financial assets.

The IRS can help you resolve basic and youtube tax lien issues through the IRS Centralized Lien Operation. They can help you verify a lien, request a lien payoff amount, or release a lien.

You can contact the IRS Centralized Lien Operation by calling 800-913-6050. Find more information about this service here.

The Bottom Line

Seeking a tax resolution and navigating an IRS tax dispute can be a daunting and challenging task. That is why it is important to know, not only your taxpayer rights, but also the resources available for you.

From the Taxpayer Advocate Service, to the IRS Office of Appeals, there are a variety of programs that are in place to look out for you and defend you against any possible mistake or injustice the IRS may have committed.

If you find yourself in a situation of this nature, contact the service that may work for you best as soon as possible, or reach out to a tax specialist for help. For more information, visit the IRS website.

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