updated 4:56 PM CET, Feb 3, 2023

What expats should know about the Taxpayer Advocate Service

In 2015, just as non-U.S. banks and financial services entities around the world began complying with the U.S. tax evasion prevention law known as FATCA – and in so doing, kicked off a tax-reporting nightmare for U.S. expats that continues – the U.S. Internal Revenue Service closed the last four of its overseas offices, citing an unavoidable need to cut costs... 

Although its not quite the same as having IRS officials on hand in one's current country of residence, a little-known service designed to help American taxpayers, expats included, with their tax issues actually does still exist.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service, as it's called, is far from being a free, full-service tax advice and return preparation service. However, it is able to help U.S. taxpayers, including expats, in certain instances, such as when they're struggling with financial hardship issues, IRS system issues, and/or issues having to do with fair and equitable treament, TAS officials say. 

And this Wednesday (June 1), a free online webinar aimed at educating American expats around the world about the existence of TAS and what it can (and can't) do for them will take place, hosted by the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, another IRS body. The webinar is set to begin at 6pm BST (7pm CEST, 1pm EDT), and run for an hour.

The webinar is described as being aimed at anyone who may have "received a penalty notice" from the IRS, and doesn't know what to do about it; who "tried to contact the IRS about an issue and the IRS hasn't resolved it yet"; who is "facing significant financial hardship" and will struggle to meet their tax obligations as a result; or who has had "an IRS system or procedure fail to resolve [their tax-related] issue," according to an online explanation of the planned event.

For information on the webinar and details to sign up to participate, click here.

To see a one-minute YouTube video on the Taxpayer Advocate Service, click here.

The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, which is hosting the webinar, is a group of around 75 volunteers who, during their three-year terms, work with IRS staff to help American taxpayers in the districts they represent to navigate their way through the IRS, while also helping the IRS to identify ways that it may improve its delivery of services to taxpayers.

As reported, London-based music industry entrepreneur Rebecca Lammers was recently named to serve as the TAP's sole overseas representative until the end of 2024, succeeding Paris-based Laura Snyder, whose three-year term expired at the end of 2021.