I know I’ve said some harsh (maybe even disparaging) comments about the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) in the past. My comments have usually been related to the “quasi independent” nature of this service and how they seem to be nothing more than an appendage of the IRS itself. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me that their offices are in the same building as the IRS (at least they are in Sacramento), and that the URL for the Taxpayer Advocate ends in “irs.gov.”
On the other hand, the top lady at TAS, Nina Olson, has truly advocated for taxpayers during her tenure. And I am encouraged by a recent correspondence I received from TAS that stands in stark contrast to many letters I have received from the IRS.
First of all, the letter I received came about seven days after requesting TAS involvement, weeks faster than anything done at the IRS. The Case Advocate tried calling me, but when she didn’t reach me, she sent this letter. The only criticism I have (so far) is that I wish she would have left a message, but I understand that messages often result in phone tag and wasted time, and the IRS is very reluctant to leave detailed messages without prior permission.
The Case Advocate gave her direct telephone number and fax number. She outlined the issues very thoroughly and precisely, and obviously in her own words rather than using a template or form letter. She described what information and documents she needed and when she needed it, gave an estimated resolution date, and signed off with an original blue ink signature. Funny how those little details make a difference. I guess it just shows that she is giving individual attention to this case, which I think anyone can appreciate.
Oh yes, there is one other problem I had with this correspondence: the due date was too short. But I guess I can live with that if it means we can move things forward without any further delays from the IRS.