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Finance & Accounting, Taxes

What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service and How Can It Help Your Business?


It’s safe to say that most small business owners do not enjoy dealing with the IRS. Taxes are an unavoidable part of life, and small business owners often have to navigate special complexities that individual taxpayers who make money from a single employer do not have to think about. Sometimes small business owners might find themselves owing additional taxes, being assessed for tax penalties or even being subjected to an IRS audit. The IRS is supposed to treat taxpayers fairly according to the law, and hopefully as a business owner, you’re working with a good accountant who can help you avoid tax problems before they arise. But in case you ever encounter some complex tax problems or feel like the IRS is violating your rights, it’s important to know that there is an organization within the IRS that is on your side: the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Many small business owners might not even know that the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service exists, but it is an independent organization within the IRS that has a special mission to protect taxpayers’ rights and help people solve tax problems that they can’t resolve on their own.

Here are a few reasons why the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) matters to small business owners – and how it might be able to help you with your tax situation:

Internal Watchdog: The TAS serves as an internal “watchdog” organization to make sure that the IRS is doing its job correctly and collecting taxes fairly, while protecting the rights and interests of taxpayers. Just like citizens have rights against excessive search and seizure by law enforcement and other government agents, just like criminal defendants have rights to due process and presumption of innocence in court until proven guilty, taxpayers have rights to protect them against unfair, invasive or abusive practices by the IRS.

Taxpayer Bill of Rights: The TAS maintains a document called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which explains 10 key rights that all taxpayers deserve in their dealings with the IRS. For example: the right to privacy, the right to representation (including assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic) and the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. If you ever find yourself being subjected to an IRS audit or asked to pay tax penalties which you feel are incorrect or unfair, don’t be afraid to talk to your accountant about protecting your rights as a taxpayer.

Get Help for Tax Problems: If something has gone wrong with your tax return – whether you made a mistake, under-reported your income or never received your refund – the Taxpayer Advocate Service can help. Their site has a full section dedicated to various tax problems and issues where you can get information on whatever tax situation you might need to address – such as getting help with health care premium tax credits, making a payment plan for unpaid back taxes, getting an extension on your tax return and more. Hopefully your accountant can already help you with many of these situations, but it’s also good to be able to refer to the TAS site as a reference in case you are dealing with more complex challenges like IRS audits, levies or liens.

Dealing with the IRS is never “fun,” but hopefully it’s comforting for business owners to know that the Taxpayer Advocate Service is there to help answer questions and offer assistance when taxpayers are dealing with some of the most complicated and costly tax problems. Even if you owe a lot of money to the IRS and feel like you’re out of options, there is almost always a solution available to help you – just make sure you get help and know your rights.

Have you ever contacted the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service or used their website for help with a tax problem? What was the experience like? Leave a comment and let us know – without divulging any sensitive details.


Kabbage Team

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