If you’re facing a significant tax matter, struggling with financial difficulties, or experiencing a significant hardship caused by tax problems, you may need some representation. One way of getting that help is to use IRS Form 911 to formally request Taxpayer Advocate assistance.
This article will walk you through what you need to know about:
- The Taxpayer Advocate Office and its role
- How IRS Form 911 is used to help taxpayers
- How to request taxpayer assistance
- Where to send your completed Form 911
- How to obtain a copy of IRS Form 911
Let’s start with the role of the Taxpayer Advocate.
What is the Taxpayer Advocate?
The IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service. The Taxpayer Advocate Office solely works on behalf of taxpayers when they’re frustrated with the normal IRS channels. Their focus is to ensure that each IRS employee is handling your tax issue within the scope of the Internal Revenue Manual and applicable laws.
According to the TAS website, “We’re here to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights. Our advocates can help if you have tax problems that you can’t resolve on your own.”
How does the Taxpayer Advocate help taxpayers?
The Taxpayer Advocate website contains a number of resources to help taxpayers in the following situations:
- Online resources and additional information for tax payers who cannot find them on the IRS website
- Low-income taxpayer clinic to provide assistance for qualifying taxpayers
- Access to the latest tax news and information
Personalized help isn’t available to everyone
Due to limited resources and the high volume of assistance requests, the TAS office has had to limit their availability. For specific taxpayers facing immediate threat of adverse action that might result in financial hardship, or an IRS system issue, the TAS assistance might be available.
The quickest method to determine whether you might qualify for taxpayer assistance is to use the TAS online qualifier tool. However, you can still file IRS Form 911 to request assistance.
What is IRS Form 911?
IRS Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (and Application for Taxpayer Assistance Order), is the form that a taxpayer uses to formally request assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate office. Completing this form doesn’t guarantee taxpayer assistance, but it is a starting point.
According to the form instructions, the TAS office can help taxpayers who:
- Are experiencing a tax problem that is causing financial difficulty
- Have tried to resolve their issue with the IRS through normal channels without success, or
- Believe that an IRS system, process, or procedure isn’t working as it should be
The TAS does this by issuing a taxpayer assistance order (TAO).
What is a taxpayer assistance order?
The Taxpayer Advocate will issue a TAO to either:
- Direct a certain IRS action be taken, ceased or refrained from, OR
- Direct that the IRS escalate, expedite, or reconsider a taxpayer’s case
For example, a TAO may direct the revenue officer to temporarily cease collection actions until the case has been reviewed at a higher level.
Part 13 of the Internal Revenue Manual contains more information about taxpayer assistance orders.
How to I fill out Form 911?
There are 3 sections to the form for you to complete. Although it’s mostly straightforward, we will walk you through this form, step by step. Let’s begin with the first section.
Section I-Taxpayer Information
In Section I, you will fill in the first section with taxpayer information.
Line 1: Taxpayer name and ID number
Enter your name and ID number. This can be your Social Security number, employer ID number, or taxpayer ID number.
Line 2: Spouse’s name and ID number
Enter your spouse’s name and ID number. This can be your Social Security number, employer ID number, or taxpayer ID number.
Line 3: Taxpayer address, city, state, zip code
Enter your mailing address
Line 4: Fax number
If you have a fax number, enter it here.
Line 5: Email address
Enter your email address here.
Line 6: Person to contact if no authorized representative (Section II, below)
If you do not have an authorized representative, like a tax attorney or other tax professional, enter the name of someone you’ve authorized to act on your behalf. For business entities, list the person authorized to represent the business.
Line 7: Phone number
Enter your telephone number here.
Line 8: Preferred time to call
If you have a time preference, enter it here.
Line 9: Language preference
If you have a language preference, other than English, enter it here. Please note if you need special assistance (such as interpretive services for deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers)
Line 10: Tax form number
Insert the tax form number of the tax return you filed. For most individuals, this might be the IRS Form 1040.
Line 11: Tax year(s)
State the tax years in question.
Line 12: Written description of the tax problem
In plain language, write down what your tax problem is. Please note that the IRS has a policy about using IRS Form 911 for frivolous requests.
The IRS may impose a fine of up to $5,000 against taxpayers who use this form to file frivolous tax returns, or to use Form 911 in a frivolous manner. IRS Publication 2105-Why Do I Have to Pay Taxes, contains more information.
Line 13: Taxpayer signature
Sign and date the form as instructed.
Line 14: Spouse signature
If applicable, have your spouse sign and date the form as instructed.
Section II-Representative Information
Taxpayers only need to complete Section II if they have an authorized representative. An authorized representative might be:
- A tax professional in good standing, such as an attorney, certified public accountant, or enrolled agent
- Officer or employee of the taxpayer’s organization
- Family member
- Unenrolled return preparer, with limited representation rights
In this case, you would complete Section II with the name, address, and contact information of the authorized representative. If Form 2848 is not already on file with the IRS, you must attach a copy of this form.
Section III-Initiating Employee Information
Taxpayers do not fill out Section III. This article section simply is to explain what information the IRS employee will complete when processing this form.
Section III contains the employee’s name and function, as well as information on how this request was initiated, and which TAS criteria the taxpayer meets.
Box 7, TAS criteria, plainly lists the reasons a taxpayer may warrant assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate. Since you, as the taxpayer, do not have the chance to complete this form, your best opportunity lies in filling in Section I as completely as possible, and providing as much information about your tax case as you can.
Section 3 continues to provide the IRS employee an opportunity to describe how they might have helped resolve the taxpayer’s issue, as well as the possible financial and economic impact of that tax issue.
Where do I turn in IRS Form 911?
According to the form instructions, the quickest method is to fax the form to the closest local taxpayer advocate office. Every state has at least one office, and you can find the contact information at the Taxpayer Advocate website.
You can also mail the form to your local taxpayer advocate office.
If you are not in the United States, but located overseas, you’ll need to either fax this form to: (304) 707-9793 or mail it to:
Taxpayer Advocate Service
Internal Revenue Service
PO Box 11996
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00922
How do I obtain a copy of IRS Form 911?
You may download a copy from the IRS website or by selecting the file below.
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