For nearly 30 years, beginning with the establishment of the Taxpayer Ombudsman Office in 1979, the IRS has provided Americans with a means for resolving problems with the agency. The Ombudsman Office was replaced by the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate in 1996, and in 1998, Congress renamed the “Taxpayer Advocate” the “National Taxpayer Advocate” and granted the office expanded authority to assist taxpayers.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS whose employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. There is at least one local Taxpayer Advocate -- who is independent of the local IRS office and reports directly to the National Taxpayer Advocate -- in each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and each IRS campus.
The National Taxpayer Advocate is appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury following consultation with the IRS Commissioner and the IRS Oversight Board. By statute, the National Taxpayer Advocate – an independent voice inside the IRS – reports directly to the IRS Commissioner.