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What Tax Attorneys Do for Taxpayer Rights?

Tax attorneys advocate for ordinary individual taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, including audits and tax collection issues.
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In this article we will explain the uses of a tax attorney for taxpayers in defending their rights based on articles of "Tax Attorneys as Defenders of Taxpayer Rights" by Michelle Lyon Drumbl.

Roles and Importance of Tax Attorneys

1. Advocacy and Representation:

Tax attorneys advocate for ordinary individual taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, including audits and tax collection issues. Many cases are resolved at the administrative level, but those that aren't may be litigated in the United States Tax Court.

2. Ensuring Due Process:

They ensure due process for taxpayers, particularly those in financial hardship, by providing collection alternatives and assistance. This role is crucial in defending taxpayer rights and advocating for the most vulnerable populations.

3. Claiming Social Benefits:

For low-income families, tax returns are not just about income reporting but also a means to claim social benefits. Tax attorneys assist these families in navigating the complexities of tax laws to ensure they receive the benefits they are entitled to.

4. Addressing Collateral Consequences of Tax Debt:

Tax attorneys help manage the collateral consequences of tax debt, such as impacts on credit scores and personal finances. This assistance is vital for taxpayers struggling to meet day-to-day needs while dealing with IRS collection actions.

5. Navigating IRS Automation and Human Interaction:

The IRS increasingly relies on automation and reduces human interaction, which can hamper case resolution. Tax attorneys, especially those in Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) and pro bono roles, provide a necessary human element and repeat experience in dealing with the IRS, ensuring better outcomes for taxpayers.

Challenges Faced by Tax Attorneys

1. Underfunded IRS:

The IRS is underfunded and understaffed, struggling to fulfill its mission. This environment increases the importance of tax attorneys as advocates who can navigate the system and protect taxpayer rights amidst these challenges.

2. Complex Tax Legislation:

The rapid changes and additions to tax laws, such as the sweeping tax reforms of December 2017, add to the workload and challenges faced by the IRS and tax attorneys alike. Attorneys must stay updated and adapt to these changes to effectively represent their clients.

3. Ensuring Taxpayer Rights Amidst Automation:

The tension between increasing IRS automation and the protection of taxpayer rights is significant. Tax attorneys play a crucial role in ensuring that automated processes do not overlook or violate taxpayer rights.

In conclusion, tax attorneys are essential in defending taxpayer rights, especially for low-income individuals, by providing necessary advocacy, navigating complex tax laws, and ensuring due process amidst an increasingly automated IRS environment .

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