Taxpayer Advocate Criteria for Determining Tax Assistance Order

Man checking boxesThe Taxpayer Assistance Order is something a Taxpayer Advocate can issue to a taxpayer if the taxpayer is suffering from a significant hardship as a result of a specific tax law and how it is being administered.

To be able to qualify for the taxpayer assistance order, a taxpayer needs to fit into one of nine criteria. These criteria determine if a taxpayer is in fact suffering from a significant hardship and not trying to avoid pay their taxes.

Nine Taxpayer Assistance Order Criteria

Criteria 1 – A taxpayer is suffering from economic harm or about to suffer from economic harm. This economic harm can be created by the IRS or it could be created through the personal finances of the taxpayer. Either one would qualify under criteria 1.

Criteria 2 – The second criteria involves situations where the taxpayer could be facing a threat of adverse action that is about to take place. This could include a Federal Tax Lien, a Notice of Levy or the actual taking of the taxpayer’s property. In other situations, the taxpayer may be suffering from an eviction or a cut off of their utilities which are needed to live.

Criteria 3 – The third criteria involves a case where the taxpayer will have to suffer significant cost to defend their case in the event the IRS does not grant relief to the taxpayer. This significant cost usually comes from having to hire a professional to represent the taxpayer and fight for their rights against the IRS.

Criteria 4 – Criteria 4 deals with losing assets or destroying the taxpayers credit score. The IRS must grant relief to the taxpayer so these types of events will not take place.

Criteria 5 – In some cases, the taxpayer may incur an extended delay of decision for a problem through the IRS. In this case, if the IRS takes more than 30 days to respond to a problem, the taxpayer may seek relief through the Taxpayer Assistance Order.

Criteria 6 – If a taxpayer was promised a response or decision to a problem that they were inquiring about by a specified date, the taxpayer may seek relief under the Taxpayer Assistance Order.

Criteria 7 – In some cases, any actual system within the IRS will fail to carry out a process as intended. If this were to occur, the taxpayer could be given relief because there case has hit a snag in the chain of command.

Criteria 8 – If a certain tax law were to impair the taxpayers rights, the IRS would be unable to carry out such action against the taxpayer.

Criteria 9 – The last criteria is determined exclusively by the National Taxpayer Advocate. This is generally determined by public policy and how the National Taxpayer Advocate sees a specific scenario.

Requests That Don’t Meet the Criteria

There are basically two situations where the Tax Advocate cannot be used, these situations include:

1. When a taxpayer is attempting to use the Tax Advocate to employ fraudulent tax strategies or avoid paying taxes.

2. The actual complaint challenges the constitution in regard to the tax system and how it is administered.

About Paul Gaulkin CPA

Paul Gaulkin is a Certified Public Accountant and enrolled with the U.S. Treasury to practice before the IRS. Mr. Gaulkin possesses unique technical knowledge in the process of securing relief for taxpayers nationwide with IRS and State tax problems. With an accounting degree from Florida International University, he is able to transform complex tax and accounting problems into easy to understand solutions.


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