by Margie Donovan

A recent experience with the Taxpayer Advocate Service has led me to submit this article. This service was very instrumental in assisting me to resolve an issue with the IRS, as well as to obtain accessible correspondence in braille. Prior to the taxpayer advocate's service, my issue was not resolved for over a year. I am happy to say that not only did my problem get resolved, but it was in my favor.

Individuals and small businesses with unresolved federal tax problems may be eligible for free assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent branch within the Internal Revenue Service that represents the interests of taxpayers. TAS recognizes the hardship that tax problems impose on individuals and small businesses, and will assign knowledgeable advocates to help qualified taxpayers navigate the federal tax system, understand what is causing their unresolved tax problems, and reach closure with the IRS. Because TAS is a part of the IRS, the advocates are experienced in the business and know how to navigate the system. They are impartial and will work on your case until it is finalized, so you can move on with your life. TAS works to solve both specific and system-wide tax problems.

Both individuals and small businesses may be eligible for free TAS assistance. Taxpayers may be eligible for assistance from TAS if they have tried normal channels to resolve their issues and still face:

- economic hardships or significant cost due to their tax problem,

- a 30-day delay to resolve the issue, or

- a response or resolution deadline that was promised by the IRS but not met.

If you want to request the assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, call toll-free 1-877-275-8271. Alternative Media Center Makes Access Happen

Making accessibility a reality is an ongoing effort of the IRS' Alternative Media Center (AMC). The IRS established the AMC in 2001 to provide alternative media resources to taxpayers and IRS employees with disabilities and to exemplify the spirit of the laws designed to enhance access to government information by people with disabilities.

The AMC provides braille, large print, and accessible electronic versions of IRS documents, including tax instructions, tax publications, and of course tax forms. Your local IRS Customer Service office can request any document in an alternative format from the Alternative Media Center. You can either call the toll-free number (1-800-829-1040) or walk in to make your request. However, if you're in a hurry, you can also find many accessible tax products on the IRS web site at,,id=96151,00.html. The tax instructions and tax publications are available in text and braille-ready format (.brf) while tax forms are available in an accessible PDF format. Sometimes called "talking tax forms," these filable, screen-reader-friendly tax forms are accessible to MSAA-compliant screen readers like JAWS and Window-Eyes.

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