You may not always agree with the IRS, but did you know that there's an office within the IRS where people actually want to hear your complaints?
The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent office within the IRS that reports to Congress. National taxpayer advocate Nina Olson, who heads the watchdog agency, issues two annual reports to legislators in which she outlines concerns about IRS programs and highlights systemic problems.
Many cases the Taxpayer Advocate Service takes involve IRS actions that cause undue financial hardship on a taxpayer. "If [the] IRS is garnishing your wages and you can't feed your kids, they're breaking the law," says former longtime IRS attorney Alvin Brown.
The office gets results, too. In the fiscal year ending September 30, it handled more than 242,000 cases and was able to resolve 70 percent of those cases in favor of the taxpayer.
If you think you're not getting a fair shake from the IRS, call one of the 75 Taxpayer Advocate Service branch offices.
Get the process started by calling (877) 777-4778 or filling out IRS Form 911, available online at www.irs.gov, and faxing it to your local office. If the office accepts your case, a case advocate will contact IRS officials to try to resolve your problem.