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Contact a Taxpayer Advocate to Help Resolve Tax Issues

This article was written by in Taxes. 1 comment.


A year ago, the first-time home buyer credit was still rather new, and the IRS began allowing taxpayers to amend their 2008 tax returns to receive the credit early. At that time, if documentation was in order, it took about six weeks to receive a check for the $8,000 credit.

That didn’t last long. Within months, the system became backlogged and those who filed to receive the credit grew frustrated. Some had to wait months before the IRS could even acknowledge that they qualified for the credit.

One option for speeding up this process — and for getting the IRS to notice you and actively work on any issue you need to resolve — is to work with a taxpayer advocate. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS designed to help individuals resolve problems with the IRS, particularly if the IRS owes the individual a refund or credit.

You must qualify in order to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Here are some of the qualifications:

  • If the taxpayer is facing or is about to face economic harm.
  • If the taxpayer will incur significant costs, like legal fees, if relief is not granted.
  • If the taxpayer has experienced a delay of over 30 days without resolution.
  • If the tax laws impede the taxpayer’s rights.

The easiest way to receive an advocate is to ask the IRS representative you are currently speaking with to fill out Form 911 on your behalf. You can complete the form on your own as well.

You can also call the service directly at 877-777-4778 to ensure you qualify, and they will have you complete Form 911 if you haven’t already. You will be directed to contact your state’s taxpayer advocate office, which you can find using this directory. Fax Form 911 to your state’s taxpayer advocate office or call them directly for more information.

With a taxpayer advocate on your side, your case will be prioritized and you should receive a resolution quicker than you would otherwise. In the best case scenario I’ve seen so far, the advocate was able to have the IRS release the taxpayer’s credit within three days, but the success rate will be determined by how your documentation supports your claim.

Here’s a comment by Liz from last November:

I contacted a tax advocate and he was extremely helpful, within a week he had my tax credit released (due to hardship) and within two weeks I had my credit with interest. I highly recommend to anyone going through a bad time to contact your advocate, it worked for me and hopefully you’ll get the same results.

If you ask the IRS to assign you an advocate, they have ten days to contact you. You might be better off by calling your state’s Taxpayer Advocate office directly. Not everyone has immediate success with a taxpayer advocate, but it should be better than dealing with the IRS, particularly during times in which the IRS staff is already stretched.

Published or updated May 19, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Lisa

I was excited about the first time home buyer tax credit, as for the last five years we have owed on taxes and although never really concerned with buying a home, thought that this was a viable option for us. So I put an offer on a short sale property here in Oregon, and was preapproved for a USDA loan. The selling bank is US Bank, which as I was warned by my realtor, was the slowest as far as response and said that it was generally about a 17 week process to get to where we would hear a decision on the offer. Well, I put an offer in on December 4, 2009. It is now to the point (25 weeks and counting) that because of US Banks inefficiency, I will lose out on the Federal Tax credit as there is a slim to none chance of getting the sale closed my June 30th, even if by some miracle I was given an answer today. Also now in jeopardy is the USDA loan, as apparently they are not at this time insuring loans, so I have had to change mortgage companies as well and go through the initial paperwork all over again. I am holding US Bank responsible for my losing $8,000. Do I have any recourse?

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