Can a Taxpayer Advocate Help Get My Delayed Refund Released?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that can help filers with tax problems they can’t resolve on their own, or if they have exhausted all standard IRS channels and not getting an adequate response.

Every state has at least one local TAS center that is independent of the local IRS office. They are especially helpful for those who cannot afford to see an accountant (or CPA) or tax lawyer to help with issues around their tax return and refund delays.

How do I get a Taxpayer Advocate?

The TAS can either be engaged directly via filing Form 911 (request for assistance). The TAS is also engaged by the IRS on behalf of taxpayers if their return has been processing for several months and the taxpayer needs help to resolve issues.

Taxpayers need to submit Form 911 (after their return has been processed), which is a essentially a request for taxpayer assistance or for those who and are facing undue hardship as a result of the IRS actions or inactions. You can send this form by mail or fax.

One your form is submitted or referred (by the IRS) allow up to 30 days to get a response and Taxpayer advocate assigned to your case. Once your case is assessed you could get temporary refund relief a few weeks afterwards.

With current backlogs, the TAS is taking longer than normal to handle cases and provide assistance. So expect delays in getting a response and lengthy wait times if you are trying to call them directly.

Also note that the TAS has to accept your case and just submitting a request does not guarantee they will support you. This is because per current procedures, the TAS does not accept cases in which they cannot meaningfully expedite or improve resolution for taxpayers.

Your tax return must have been processed (not in Suspense)

Before contacting the TAS as a measure of last resort, remember that they cannot help if the IRS has not loaded your return and started processing. Tax returns not loaded onto the IRS system are classified as in “suspense” status awaiting IRS action. These are causing the majority of processing delays.

Dealing with the TAS (a real example)

Here is an example from a reader (Lisa) in a recent tax season and how the TAS/Form 911 helped her. Lisa had the following challenge with getting her refund released, what is she to do?

  • 1/21 filed
  • 1/23 accepted
  • 1/25 1 bar WMR, tax topic 152, no codes, no messages of a letter
  • 2/2 4464c letter sent out, do nothing wait 60 days, I received on 2/8
  • 2/7 we’ve received your return and it’s still processing
  • 2/11 Path Act message indicating issue was related to tax topic 152
  • 2/16 message changed to; we’ve received your return and it’s being processed a refund date will be provided when available, amount returned, no tax topic 152
  • 2/25 still no DDD
  • 4/28 IRS sent a letter (notice) to Lisa that they are still processing and need another 60 days.

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Here was the suggestion offered to Lisa to help address her missing refund:

What did the letter indicate they are reviewing? The IRS can submit a form 911 request on your behalf if you ask them to do so. I would also contact them as well and request them open you a case.

The IRS request goes directly to a tax advocate since they actually are IRS employees; they have access to the system to pull up your return and review. I used one and once I faxed everything I got my return in 2 weeks.

Possible Cause #1: Did you file with your last check stub or with your actually W-2 form? The issue is that the IRS may be reviewing your W2’s because the amount you reported does not match the W-2 they received from your employer. When they say do nothing; they can fix it themselves by contacting your employer for verification which could delay your return even further.

Second possible causeClaims for tax credits you made on your return. IRS is questioning the legitimacy of the dependents you are claiming and will NOT release your refund until you actually fax them documentation to prove they resided with you at least 7 months last year  (birth certificate, school records, lease, government assistance/w children names on it). Tax Advocate will give you a list of items to fax.

If you want them to release your refund you MUST contact an advocate ASAP, they will tell you exactly what is needed and you fax it to them, IRS has exactly 1 week to accept/reject; if all is good; they will re sequence you back into queue and you will have your refund within 1-2 weeks. 

NOTE: Unfortunately only the IRS or TAX ADVOCATE can tell you exactly what is going on and how long it might take. Every case is different. The magic word below is (ASK)….to be transferred…and let the advocate determine if your situation meets their criteria.

Your other option will be to contact IRS in the morning and request the following on your behalf. Per the IRS Manual:

If during a taxpayer contact it appears that the taxpayer is experiencing economic harm, 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, and you can’t resolve the taxpayer’s issue the same day, complete Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance (And Application for Taxpayer Assistance order), and refer the taxpayer to Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)


Lisa contacted a tax advocate (see numbers and IRS TAS information) and a few days later WMR was updated and her refund was received a week later.

So the Taxpayer Advocate Service does work. See more stories in the comments below and please share your experience (good or bad) with using a tax advocate.

Amended Returns and Taxpayer Advocate Service Help

Marie submitted this question – “Anyone who amended get a tax advocate? How long did it take? I Amended in May and kept after the16 weeks was up that they the IRS needs 60 more days. Today they [IRS] put in for a tax advocate after I finally got through to someone.”

The answer is maybe. If your amended return is still waiting IRS processing (which are facing extended delays), the TAS won’t accept your case until you hear back from the IRS. This includes those taxpayers who are experiencing financial hardships and desperately need the funds. 

The TAS can help with amended return delay issues after IRS processing and where they can meaningfully help.

The process to engage the TAS is the same as described above for regular returns. However the TAS will prioritize returns based on order of submission and hardship experienced by the taxpayer.

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124 thoughts on “Can a Taxpayer Advocate Help Get My Delayed Refund Released?”

  1. My 2021tax return is still in progress that’s what it says and it’s been like that it says the same thing that is in progress but I don’t know anything else

      • Well 3 months later I’m still waiting did id verification. Been done since Feb 22. calling numerous times begging for answers and get a diff answer everytime waiting for tas within 14 days to call. On 13th day I called funny nobody said they aren’t opening any cases until after June 30 IRS has asked of this . Hardship or not. Called yesterday after utility co. Came now telling me they don’t have the W2 to verify my stuff sent letter appeared on transcript 3/25 as of 4/10.havnt rec a letter but was told when I’ve called was told to amend now and now 5 months for amended but I’m in a review to verify wages and now amended so no clue where I fall into. Tas told me of this wait til June 30 before opening cases are u serious. Maybe moving to a cardboard box isn’t hardship enough I dno but this run around and jumping thru flaming hoops has just got me no where feb7 accepted return may 9.still nothing. Oh and told deposit date was 4/3 but nah they pulled it to review 4 /3.. how can someone in or facing hardship after 3 months waiting be told up to 5 months wait more over half a year for a return with no credits depends just me income taxes out in etc that’s all . So confused .. should I be expecting interest adding up to.. haha patience out the window. Someone help cuz I guess hiring thousands more to work and working weekend hasn’t helped us little people out here. The struggle is real.

  2. What they don’t tell you in these comments is u may get a tax advocate but that’s a process too. If they don’t think u have a real reason to be assign to one u may not get one and it also take 30 days to see if anyone will take your case or not.

  3. Hi my names Diana aleman I filed my tax return since January 2022 n nothing what im suppose to do I got children to support no help of child support thank you

    • Call 8777774778 that’s the tax advocate number if you get a recording saying they can’t take your call keep calling over and over until your call is put into the order it was received

  4. I’ve been waiting on my tax return March 15 is when I filled my taxes they said 21 days after I filled I should see something and haven’t heard or seen anything yet could you please help me with this situation I’ve been patiently waiting thank you

  5. I filed my taxes on 1/27/2022, I have not received a letter. I keep checking on where’s my refund and it has the same message for 3 weeks now. Saying that it a longer than usual processing in my refund. I can’t get through to irs. I need to pay my light bill.

    • filed 2/2/2022; accepted same day. 2/11/22 message about waiting due to PATH bill, since then crickets. No DDD; got my code about processing on 3/14/2022 no 846 on IRS transcript no letters nothing.

      • I filed my taxes for 2019 with Jackson and Hewitt somehow they managed to screw up my tax refund and I have not received it I’ve been trying to contact IRS in many different ways with no success every number I have tried turned up to be useless. So I’m trying to figure out how to make an appointment with them or get some kind of help and advocate to get my refund which is around $2,600

      • I’m currently working with the tax payer advocate services and they are corresponding between me and the IRS quickly with what is needed to get my refund released. I’ve been waiting on my refund since February I should be receiving my refund in the next week or so. You have to tell them what hardship you are experiencing, whether it be homeless, behind on bills, hours cut at work just let them know you need your money to live and take care of whatever you need to take care of. They’ve have helped me Alot.

        • Hello I have been waiting on my refund since February as well and would like to know how can I get help. Thank you

      • I found my 2019 taxes with Jackson and Hewitt and they screwed my taxes up and I’ve been waiting ever since to receive them I tried multiple times to contact IRS the number to make an appointment was useless.
        I just don’t know what else to do to get my refund from them

  6. I filled on 1/26/2022 AMD I normally have mines every year around the 23rd of February and I don’t know what it’s taking so long

  7. I did my taxes on February 1,2022 and waiting for my income taxes in 21 days but when I check for when it’s comes. It’s day that I have to pay the irs $101. I pay it. Do you when you gonna receive the refund

  8. TAS has been running me in circles since November 2021, trying to get my 2019 refund. I have logged 30 plus calls to my assigned advocate, the advocate’s manager, and the group manager with no response. The general Advocate number looks at the case, then says “we will transfer you to the intake service – here is your PIN…: Then I go on hold for the rest of the day until the TAS closes. This is happening right now for the 4th time.
    I want to stress that NO IRS rep, TAS or not, has EVER called me back after countless requests and TAS faxes to my advocate and her managers to do so.
    COVID be darned – I am finding the TAS to be worthless.

    • Since I got my job 4 years ago the IRS holds my refund (flags me for some unknown reason) then I have to get a Tax advocate every year. I know the routine and usually after getting an advocate I get my refund in about 2 weeks. This year I have been assigned a Tax advocate again, but they will not answer my calls. Ive been waiting so long the IRS gave me Tax Advocates Manager number, but they wont answer either. What we supposed to do when no one answers their phones?? I call everyday and leave a voicemail for 2 weeks!!!

  9. Shannon, i filed my tax on 2/15/21 since then the refund status says We are processing your refund.

    TA is a waste of time I am wondering if my tax dollar is paying for their service?

    Is there a company anyone know of that I can give a percentage of the return to for them to pursue this process for me. Thanks

    • Ditto – there MUST be a way to escalate beyond TAS. They are not just a waste of time – they are a colossal waste of time.

  10. This while process is a joke. I’m currently homeless , it’s freezing cold outside and if I’m lucky, I get to sleep in an old car. My refund was accepted and being processed since September. I tecieved a letter about identity verification and I did that , even a video call. Checking my refund status it says being processed. What am I to do? Wait on them and freeze to death? Can’t talk to a person when I call. Everyday I hope for a miracle . Hopefully I get my refund before it’s too late and i freeze to death.

  11. Return accepted 2/11/21. Been over 9 months. Received about four 60 day notices (I kid you not)!! Contacted my local congressman office in August. The lady contacted TAS on my behalf (I didn’t know that). No movement. Until just now she emailed me with an update stating the TAS guy just called her and told her my return had income mismatch (look back) I think. And that everything has been resolved. The IRS has been instructed to release my refund. Now I wait again don’t know how long after this new update. Not getting my hopes up.

    • I’ve been waiting since February 18th and I’ve lost my home and car everything I worked hard for and it started with trying to get my refund to catch up on rent please help with any number that can help me get my refund I tried everything

      • Jist go to google.and type in IRS tax advocate toll free number keep calling at around 5 pm on out. Once you get through ask for a call back do not wait online cause it may hang up. Ask for an advocate to contact you due to hardship. You need to ask for their direct number and fax #

  12. I’ been reaching out to IRS after receiving letter stating more verification is required to release or process return and I’ve called as required for over 30days now with every number given and I’ve recieved the same recorded messages due to high call volume your call can not be completed call back on next business day 30days now no matter how many times I’ve called or what time of day it is the letter states I only have 30days to reply I’m a non filer so I was informed to file for my grandchildren stimulus who hasn’t received any of them what do I do even the appointment and advocates line gives same recorded message please help

    • Dial the 1040 number over and over early morning around 7 am if not at 630 pm till it picks up press 1.for English press option 2. Then option 1 the option 3.then option 2 do not give your social at all. Wait till social message goes through twice. Then press 2 then 3 this is the sequence.
      1*2*1*3*2****2*3 1213223 just keep at it.

  13. I’ve been waiting since2015 to get my taxes i had a identity theft.In 2014.I haven’t gotten my taxes but they were filed.its 2021.

    • I filed for my taxes in February and they sent me a letter stating in would be here in March and here it is July.. it’s all most time to file again that’s crazy and kids are needing school clothes next month.

    • Go to IRS verify me Id is your first step….you’ll need to verify your identity through video or driver’s license to set up an account..then also go to your transcript page it’s free to download so you can see what it states as far as the “ACCOUNT” TRANSCRIPT will show codes on there and from there you can look up on you tube to see exactly what those codes mean. Or contact a tax advocate as well.

  14. I was assigned a tax advocate 2 weeks ago and I have left several messages for her so I can find out what’s going with my refund.The tax advocate has not sent me any letters of correspondence nor has returned my calls. The IRS advised they can’t assist me because my case is being handled by the tax advocate. What am I supposed to do if the tax advocate is not returning my calls? I have no idea of what’s going on with my refund.

    • Same here. No response from advocate and now the IRS won’t talk to me because I’ve been assigned one. It’s been 3 weeks

        • The tax advocate is a joke. I was assigned to Mr. Tracey in July and here it is October and he does not return calls either and the IRS will not speak to me. It has been 8 months and the IRS has not released my funds or a date. It is unnerving that they are allowed to treat people this way without any consequences. I am planning on contacting a CPA and an attorney.

    • If you are not facing hardship it will take 3 to 4 weeks to get her to respond. Call the tax advocate number toll free if your facing a hardship eviction, car broke down and essential to use for your actual employment, received shit off notices let them know they will give you direct line to your advocate your case # her fax number and call line make sure you explain when. You call about your hardship if you have one if not they will not respond back till the 3 to 4 week time frame.

  15. i really need help. i just got POA for my dad.
    I had to put him in a facility and control his finances. he has been scammed for the past 10 years and i need to use his resources to pay for his living arrangements. I know he owes a lot of money to the IRS but i do not know why as he does not have anything, including the house the IRS is taking now. I want to clear why he owes so much when he hasn’t had any income for 15 years. no one is answering calls or returning calls as the option gives.

    • Contact the IRS taxpayer advocate line. You may have to have power of attorney of his affairs to do so. Explain your situation and they may open a case for you. The number is 1877-777-4778 if it’s says too busy try back later just hang up and keep redialing till you get through. The best time to call is early in the morning and expect to be on hold at least 2 hours total. Good luck

  16. My fed was accepted on 2-27-21 and I have yet to see one change it still says processing,so soon as it’s processed I will be given a date for refund. My adult son is 21 and been disabled since 5 wks old and has always been 100% solely dependent on me and Indiana had stopped his ssi that hw received his whole life due to and ertir and negligence on there part 2 yrs ago and after calling writing sending them appeals they still did not give it back. But we have been evicted went hungry and are currently homeless staying with others because he did not receive either of the first 2 stimulus checks so I had to fill out for them in my return so I’m sure it’s the hold on but we’re have refiled in ky for ssi yr ago and still not received and without my refund were now without place to live food Medicare and now because both of us been having health issues mental and physical my job is in the process of terminating me instead of understanding and helping and I’ve worked thru the pandemic and been am employee for almost 2 yrs. I’ve just never see it so hard for those of us trying to stand on our own but to watch so many that have never did nothing set back living high off unemployment because no one was checking that out and holding it up til it was confirmed legit but yet the taxpayers who paid in can’t get our money and homeless and going hungry because ours will get to us when it does. Not fair so can anyone please help me with info on how to reach out to a tax advocate??? Thank you in advance very much…

    • Gwendolyn,
      I am so very sorry to hear of the ordeal your son and you are going through. My family is having a hatd time as well. My younger son just contacted a Tax Advocate yesterday and is hoping for help soon. We called the. 877-777-4778 number. It was difficult to get through, so keep trying. The hold time doesn’t seem as bad in late afternoon. Explain to them the problems you all are facing. I am sure they csn help you too. Hopefully, we will all get our much needed refund soon.

    • I called TAS and told them I had a similar situation. They opened a case for me my refund has been processing since Feb12, 2021. They had me fax some forms that the IRS was missing that I had faced the IRS directly 2 months prior. There was movement on my account. The number is 1-877-777-4778 if it says to call back later keep calling back to back till you get through. Call early in the morning right after 7 am and expect to be on hold about 2 hours a lot longer the later you wait to call. Good luck

  17. How do I get in touch with a tax advocate? I don’t see a phone number. Filed on March 25, 2021 and was accepted. Still waiting for my refund

    • Join the crowd Bonnie, I filed March 10th, the form was accepted and has been processing ever since. You can’t speak with anyone that can actually look into why or what I should do to get it moving through the system. I am owed money so they will need to apply interest to that amount now that it’s been held for over 45 days.
      I am contacting an advocate to assist me at this point!!! 1-877-777-4778
      Good luck I hope you can get your refund released.

  18. Hi just wanted to give a update and give hope that a tax advocate works
    I filled 2-23-21 accepted 2-25-21
    Had bars until 3-3-21 on 3-5-21
    I received a 4464c letter stating my tax refund was under review And I don’t need to do anything give them 60 days so I waited the 60 days contacted tax advocate on 5-4-21
    Tax advocate contacted me back
    5-5-21 told me the documentation needed I sent it straight in on
    5-6-21 got a call from my tax advocate 5-14-21 Stating my taxes will be in my bank 5-19-21 tax advocates really work this is not my first go round with tax advocates and they have worked for me so
    I filled 3-20-19 taxes was accepted
    3-21-19 has bars until 4-4-19 got a letter 4464c in the mail saying my taxes was under review I contacted tax advocate exactly 60 days from date of letter but this tax advocate said to me it was too many errors irs was not gonna release my taxes so I contacted another advocate which explained it was a few errors now this took a while but I end up getting my taxes released
    3-25-20 the next year I didn’t stop and they came through for me so please don’t give up hope on a advocate they work thanks for reading and I hope everything works out for everyone but my advice would be an advocate

    • We’re they there today? I’m going through the same issue, down the the filing date – its yet to be resolved I had to go to my congressman. Was your refund deposited when they said it would be?

    • If my TA gave me a resolve date of 6/18/21 and said he expects to close his case on 6/25/2021, does that mean i should receive my refund on 6/18/2021?


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