Tax Emergency? Guide to Form 911 for Taxpayer Advocate Help

April 2, 2023 | Tax Help

You can request help from the Taxpayer Advocates office by filing Form 911. This form allows you to get help from a neutral division of the IRS if you’re unable to resolve your issue through normal channels. However, it’s important to note that while the advocates can help with many issues, they aren’t the right answer for every IRS problem and will not advocate for you in the same manner as an Attorney would.

This guide is your introduction to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). It explains when they can help and outlines when you should consider alternatives.

What Is Form 911?

Form 911 is a Request for Taxpayer Advocate Assistance. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent part of the IRS. They can help when taxpayers cannot get a resolution by working directly with the IRS.

The TAS cannot work around the IRS’s rules, but they can help to mediate issues between you and the IRS. They can also request the IRS to stop collection actions that are causing or about to cause economic harm.

Where to Get Form 911

Here is a link to a pdf file of Form 911. You can pull up this form and print it out. If you don’t have a printer, most public libraries allow you to print tax forms for free. Check out our tax relief forms resource page for links to other IRS forms.

When to File Form 911

You should consider filing Form 911 anytime you need extra assistance dealing with the IRS. Here are the main situations where Taxpayer Advocates can help.

  • You’re experiencing economic harm or about to experience economic harm — For instance, the IRS is garnishing your wages and you can’t afford basic living expenses.
  • You’re facing an adverse action — For instance, the IRS has proposed an asset seizure or another type of enforced collection action.
  • You’re going to incur expensive costs if you don’t get relief — For instance, the IRS is going to place a lien against assets that are not really yours, and you would need to hire professional help to rectify the issue.
  • You haven’t gotten a response from the IRS for 30 days or longer — This only applies if you have actively tried to contact the IRS and have not heard back.
  • You haven’t heard back by the expected date — If the IRS was supposed to contact you by a certain date and they haven’t, you can request help even if it’s been less than 30 days.
  • You have been unable to resolve your problem through the usual channels — For instance, you appealed an action through the Tax Appeals Program and you never got a response.
  • Your rights have been impaired due to the way the IRS is administering the tax laws.

If your situation doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, you may want to contact a tax professional before reaching out to the Taxpayer Advocates. Frivolous requests for help can incur a $5,000 fine. If you have a legitimate concern, you don’t have to worry about getting in trouble for filing Form 911. This rule really only applies in cases where people make very frivolous arguments, such as contacting the TAS to claim that taxes are not constitutional.

How to Complete Form 911

This form has three sections. The first section is for you (the taxpayer). the second section is for your legal representative if applicable, and the third section is for the IRS. If you hire a CPA or tax attorney, they should put their contact details and signature in section II. Otherwise, you need the following info to complete section one:

  • Your name, tax ID number, and address.
  • Your spouse’s name, tax ID number, phone number, and address.
  • The tax form number and tax year or period.
  • A written description of your tax issue. Explain what the IRS has done or not done to rectify your concern, and if you haven’t got a response from the IRS, outline your attempts to contact them.
  • The type of relief or help you want. Be as detailed as possible when outlining your desired resolution, and make sure to outline a plan to repay your tax or get on uncollectible status.

If you’re applying with your spouse, make sure that you both sign the form. Then, provide any documents that support your case.

Where to File Form 911

When you complete this form, you can mail or fax it to the TAS. Use the TAS office locator page to find the nearest office. Simply select your state from the dropdown menu to get a list of options. Or call 1 (877) 777-4778 to request the fax number or mailing address of the closest office. There is at least one office in every state, but you may go to a neighboring state if it’s closer to you.

Alternatives to Working With the Taxpayer Advocates

Unfortunately, the Taxpayer Advocate Service cannot help with every issue. Here are some alternatives:

  • Collection Appeals Program — If you disagree with a collection action, you can appeal through the collection appeals program. If you’re working with an IRS employee, start by requesting a meeting with their manager. If you don’t get the resolution you want, file Form 9423 (Collection Appeal Request).
  • Collection Due Process Hearing — You can generally only request a CDP hearing if the IRS has sent you a notice that mentions your right to a hearing. Usually, this happens when the IRS seizes your assets. To request a review of the situation, file Form 12153 (Request for Collection Due Process Hearing). When you file the form, the IRS will stop collections on your account. Then, you will get a phone or in-person meeting, and if you disagree with the results, you can appeal.
  • Hiring a tax professional — A tax professional can review your situation and help you identify the best resolution. That may include requesting penalty abatement, applying for IRS relief programs, or taking other steps.

Regardless of the route you take, such as filing a form 12153 (Request for Collection Due Process Hearing), make sure that you’re taking action. The IRS has a lot of power to collect unpaid debts, and if you ignore their notices or cannot work out a resolution, you risk facing collection actions such as liens or levies that could hurt you financially.

Help With State Issues

The Taxpayer Advocate Service only helps with IRS issues, but there are many state organizations that may be able to help if you’re dealing with a state tax concern.

In New York, the Office of the Taxpayer Rights Advocate helps taxpayers deal with the Department of Taxation and Finance. Like the federal group, this organization can also help if you’re facing economic harm or are unable to resolve your NY state tax issues through normal channels.

FAQs About the Taxpayer Advocate Service

Will filing Form 911 stop collections?

The IRS does not have to stop collection actions when you file this form. However, the advocates will step in and try to resolve your tax problem, and in most cases, the TAS asks the IRS to stop collection actions such as liens, levies, or garnishments while it reviews your case.

What is economic harm?

Economic harm refers to situations such as having your utilities cut off due to nonpayment or being unable to pay your rent or mortgage. If you are struggling to pay necessary living expenses due to the IRS’s actions, that is economic harm.

How long does it take to get a response?

Generally, you should hear back within one week of submitting the 911 form. However, the TAS says to wait a month before contacting them about your application.

If you’re appealing a specific collection action such as a lien or a levy, consider utilizing the Collection Appeals Program (CAP). CAP aims to respond to all applications within five business days, but often, you can resolve the issue with a managerial review in just two business days.

What if I don’t get a response?

If you haven’t heard anything within a month, you should call the office directly to follow up on your application. You can call the office nearest to you or the main TAS number at 1 (877) 777-4778.

Get Help Dealing With the IRS Now

Owing taxes or having other IRS problems can be a nightmare, and it’s much easier to navigate the situation when you have an experienced professional on your side. At the Timothy S. Hart Law Group, we are dedicated to helping our clients find the most cost-effective and least stressful resolutions for their IRS or state tax problems.

Want to know how we can help you? Then, contact us today. We’ll start with a free consultation. Then, we’ll help you figure out how to move forward with your situation.

Attorney Timothy Hart

Timothy S Hart, the founding partner of the tax law firm of Timothy S. Hart Law Group, P.C. is both a New York Tax Lawyer & Certified Public Accountant. His area of expertise includes innovative solutions to solve your Internal Revenue Service and New York State tax problems, including tax settlements through the Federal and New York State offer in compromise programs, filing unfiled tax returns, voluntary disclosures, tax audits, and criminal investigations. [ Attorney Bio ]