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(As TMFPMarti admits:)For those who don't already know, I spent 25 years in and around the IRS collection function. Yes, folks, I confess to being a retired knuckle-dragging stormtrooper.

So consider the source.

According to Phil: [The Taxpayer Advocate's Office's] original stated mission was twofold: assist taxpayers stuck somewhere in the process and look for systemic improvements that would make life easier for both taxpayers and IRS. It has failed miserably at both. I suspect it was a PR move from the beginning.

And there, Phil, you are wrong. I, a CPA in publice practice, who has been a taxpayer's advocate before the IRS started using the phrase, have used the services of the Taxpayers' Advocate Office a number of times - most recently, yesterday and today. They have never failed to help me get a resolution of my problems. [They were called the Problem Resolution Office (PRO) for a while, too.]

The problem they just helped me with was a collection case where the IRS (the kinder and gentler version)has ignored my client's, and my, letters and phone calls for 9 months now, and this month issued a notice of levy. AND MY CLIENT DOES NOT OWE THE MONEY. And we've been telling them that, and documenting it, for 9 months.

We didn't go there before today because you're not supposed to until you have failed to resolve your problem through regular channels. The Taxpayers' Advocate Office today made the entries in the system to cancel the erroneous assessment and lift the levy - in 24 hours, which the regular operations of the IRS couldn't do in 9 months. Now I haven't seen it in writing yet, but this was a big step.

Now, the IRS has done some dumb things for PR purposes. They've changed the name of the office a couple of times. "Ombudsman" isn't widely used, outside of Norway, so that was dumb to start with. And the former "service centers" are now "campuses". That's just too cute.
But there's nothing cute or funny about the Form 911 process. It's truly been a valuable emergency tool.

But Phil REALLY doesn't like the Taxpayers' Advocate Office because they did, and do, their job, which is listening to the taxpayer's side of the story. This interfered with his job, being a professional extortionist, and perhaps prevented him from meeting his monthly quotas of pounds of flesh.

The Taxpayers' Advocate Office is by far the best part of the IRS. There's not another area of that comes close. It's the only part of the IRS that works FOR the taxpayer.

And the people in it are among the best I've dealt with. Actually, I've also had good impressions of some folks in the Chief Counsel's office, and Gift/Estate tax attorneys, too, but on a more limited basis.


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