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As a taxpayer, don't forget that you've got rights

Published April 13, 2013 6:08 pm

Personal finance • Advocate Service gives you a voice with the IRS.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Tribune is providing down-the-stretch tips and reminders to help you complete the right forms, apply for all the deductions and credits you can, and get your tax filings in on time by April 15.

Countdown Tip No. 2: Use the Taxpayer Advocate when tackling tax disputes.

Got a beef with the Internal Revenue Service?

The IRS is the first to admit that the tax system can be a complicated maze of rules and regulations. If you've got an issue about a tax assessment or feel you've been the victim of identity fraud or believe you've been duped by a tax preparer, you may need a guide to help right the wrong.

Enter the independent Taxpayer Advocate Service, or TAS. The advocate's mission, according to the service's website, is "to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights."

Utah's taxpayer advocate is Anne Logan. Think of her as an ombudsman, a liaison who can help you investigate complaints or work out a payment plan or just get a phone call returned. She says taxpayers often don't ask the right questions or don't know whom to call to straighten out a tax issue, and that's where she can help.

"We represent the taxpayer," Logan said. "When taxpayers come to us, they're looking for some type of resolution, and that's when our case advocates get in there. They go to bat for that customer."

Although Logan's job is not to eliminate the taxes you owe, she can help you navigate the process, as well as negotiate terms that work for both you and the IRS.

She said in Utah the success rate is 80 percent to 90 percent.

To contact Utah's Taxpayer Advocate Service, call (801) 799-6958 or 1 (877) 777-4778.

Coming up tomorrow: Running out of time? File an extension.

jnpearce@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jnpearce —

Countdown to April 15 — last-minute tips

Haven't filed your taxes yet? Check out The Tribune's Countdown to Tax Day series with information that can help as the deadline approaches:

April 4 • Where to get free help

April 5 • How to avoid tax scams

April 6 • The joys of filing electronically

Sunday • What's the Earned Income Tax Credit?

Tuesday • Don't miss out on the Child and Dependent Care Credit

Wednesday • Understand your taxes if you're self-employed

Thursday • Watch out for fees when paying taxes by credit card

Friday • Reduce your taxes by saving for retirement

Today • Use the Taxpayer Advocate when tackling the IRS

Sunday • Don't ignore your taxes; file an extension to get more time