The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) is appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury rather than the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The NTA and all NTA employees also report to the Secretary of the Treasury and not the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Accordingly, although the NTA is situated within the IRS, it is independent of the IRS. Each state has its own NTA office.
The NTA’s mission is to help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS, and also recommend changes that will prevent such problems in the future. NTA not only handles cases in which a taxpayer is suffering or about to suffer a significant hardship, but it also handles cases in which the taxpayers will benefit from NTA involvement even though the taxpayer is not individually experiencing a hardship.
Where TAS cannot provide a remedy for taxpayers because of deficiencies in administrative procedures or barriers imposed by the tax law, TAS will propose administrative solutions or legislative changes, as appropriate. In fact, the Internal Revenue Code provides that the NTA may issue a Taxpayer Assistance Order (TAO) if the NTA determines the taxpayer is suffering or about to suffer a significant hardship as a result of the manner in which the internal revenue laws are being administered by the IRS.
TAS accepts four (4) broad categories of cases, namely (a) Economic Burden cases; (b) Systemic Burden cases; (c) Best Interest of the Taxpayer cases; and (d) Public Policy cases.
Economic burden cases consist of four (4) main types of cases generally involving a financial difficulty to the taxpayer resulting from an IRS action or inaction that has caused or will cause negative financial consequences or have a long-term adverse impact on the taxpayer. Specifically, these cases must satisfy one, or more of the following criteria.
Criteria 1: The taxpayer is experiencing economic harm or is about to suffer economic harm.
Criteria 2: The taxpayer is facing an immediate threat of adverse action.
Criteria 3: The taxpayer will incur significant costs if relief is not granted (including costs of professional representation).
Criteria 4: The taxpayer will suffer irreparable injury or long-term adverse impact if relief is not granted.
Systemic burden cases are those in which an IRS process, system, or procedure fails to operate as intended, and as a result the IRS fails to timely respond to or resolve a taxpayer issue. Specifically, these cases must satisfy one, or more of the following 3 criteria, namely:
Criteria 5: The taxpayer has experienced a delay of more than 30 days to resolve a tax account problem.
Criteria 6: The taxpayer has not received a response or resolution to the problem or inquiry by the date promised.
Criteria 7: A system or procedure has either failed to operate as intended, or failed to resolve the taxpayer’s problem or dispute within the IRS.
Best interest of the taxpayer cases involve matters that TAS’ acceptance will help ensure that taxpayers receive fair and equitable treatment and that their rights as taxpayers are protected, satisfying the following criteria.
Criteria 8: The manner in which the tax laws are being administered raises considerations of equity, or has impaired or will impair the taxpayer’s rights.
Public policy cases encompass matters determined by the NTA to involve a unique set of circumstances warranting assistance to certain taxpayers, meeting the following criteria.
Criteria 9: The NTA determines compelling public policy warrants assistance to an individual or group of taxpayers.
Accordingly, if you or your business is experiencing problems dealing with the IRS involving financial issues resulting from IRS delay causing negative financial consequences, the IRS failing to timely respond to or resolve a tax issue, the manner in which the tax laws are being administered raises considerations of equity, or has impaired or will impair you or your business rights, and/or\ other unique circumstances warranting assistance, you need to contact our offices so we may seek assistance from the NTA on your behalf.