Office of the Taxpayer Advocate
The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, also called the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), is an office that is independent of the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Government's tax collection agency, although the two bodies often work closely together. It is under the supervision and direction of the Taxpayer Advocate who is appointed by the Secretary of Treasury and reports directly to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The office was created under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2, an act of the United States Congress which became law on July 30, 1996. The office replaced the previous Office of the Ombudsman within the Internal Revenue Service.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) consists of approximately 1,800 employees. About 1,400 of these are Case Advocates, who personally assist taxpayers in resolving their problems with the Internal Revenue Service. To qualify for this personal assistance, taxpayers must be experiencing economic harm or significant cost (including fees for professional representation), have experienced a delay of more than 30 days to resolve their tax issue, or they have not received a response or resolution to the problem by the date that was promised by the IRS.
In addition, the TAS identifies systemic problems that exist within the Internal Revenue Service and, to the extent possible, propose changes in the administrative practices and identify potential legislative changes which may be appropriate to mitigate such problems. These observations and proposals are presented to Congress each year in the National Taxpayer Advocate's "Annual Report to Congress."