What is the Texas Taxpayer Assistance Project?
The Texas Taxpayer Assistance Project (TTAP) gives low-income taxpayers free legal assistance on federal tax matters.
We never charge a fee for services. You may have to pay court costs and filing fees.
We are independent from the Internal Revenue Service. All telephone conversations and client interviews are confidential.
Most low-income taxpayers are honest and want to comply with the tax laws. Some tax laws change each year and some tax laws are hard to understand. If you have a problem with the IRS, you might need legal assistance.
Who We Serve?
TTAP serves low-income taxpayers who have disputes with the IRS.
TTAP can serve any eligible taxpayer in its service area for whom English is a second language.
TTAP helps taxpayers who do not already have representation in their case and who cannot afford to pay for legal representation or tax assistance. We will not handle cases with more that $50,000 in dispute.
In determining eligibility, we evaluate each taxpayer’s situation individually. Among the factors we consider are:
- whether English is a second language
- current income and income on the tax return
- domestic violence
- physical or mental disability
- number of family members
- nature and complexity of the tax issue
Types of Cases We Handle
Innocent Spouse Relief Requests
Have you received a bill from the IRS for taxes from a joint tax return? Do you believe it would be unfair to hold you liable for these taxes? Depending on your circumstances, your knowledge of the debt, current marital status and other factors, such as spouse abuse, you may qualify for relief as an innocent spouse.
We can help you apply for innocent spouse relief and can represent you if the IRS has denied this relief.
Injured Spouse Claims
Have your taxes been withheld to pay a debt your spouse had before you married, such as a tax debt or a defaulted student loan, or a recent child support or federal tax debt? If you filed a joint return, and you had your own income and tax payments on a the tax return (tax withholdings or earned income tax credit), you may have some relief. The spouse who did not owe the debt may request her portion of the tax refund.
TTAP can help you filed the injured spouse claim and can represent you if the IRS denies this claim.
Audits or Examinations
Have you received a letter from the IRS telling you that your tax return is being audited or examined?
The letter may say that the IRS is reviewing your filing status, such as head of household, or certain claimed deductions or credits (dependency exemptions, business deductions, earned income tax credit, child tax credit or child care credit).
Earned Income Tax Credit Appeals
The IRS audits many earned income tax credit (EITC) returns. Have you received a letter from the IrS that your earned income tax credit ha been denied?
If the IRS determines that the error was reckless or intentional, you cannot claim the EITC for the next two years. If the IRS finds that the error was fraud, you cannot claim the EITC for the next ten years. We can help you appeal the EITC denial and keep your right to claim EITC in the future.
Have you received a notice from the IRS that there is a “deficiency” in your taxes and that you have 90 days to file a petition to the Tax Court? If you do not file within that time, you lose the right to go to court without first paying the tax. We can help you settle the matter or file a petition to Tax Court.
Liens and Levies
Have you received a notice that the IRS plans to file a lien on your property for past taxes, or a notice that it will levy on your property or garnish your wages? We can help you ask for a Collections Due Process Hearing to determine whether the IRS can place a levy on your property.
Negotiations and/or Settlements of Tax Debt
Are you unable to pay your tax debt? WE may be able to help you with the following options:
- enter into an installment or payment agreement
- place your account in currently not collectible status
- make an offer in compromise (settlement offer)
- request a taxpayer assistance order if you have a hardship
- request temporary suspension of collection
- challenge the tax if the time period has not expired or proper procedure was not followed
Employee/Independent Contractor Disputes
Do you have a dispute about whether you are an employee or an independent contractor? You may owe a lot of self-employment taxes. We can help you ask the IRS to change your employment status.
Other Things We Do
- Speak to groups, such as social service agencies, churches, groups that work with immigrants, spouse abuse shelters, school based family centers, and others.
- Prepare pamphlets about taxpayer rights and responsibilities.
- Advise organizations and train staff who work with low-income taxpayers.
- Refer clients to private attorneys, accountants, VITA or TCE volunteers, or agencies.
- Prepare prior years tax returns.
How To Get Help
To find out if we can help, call 1-888-988-9996.
After you call, an advocate will arrange an interview.
We may ask you to send copies of tax returns, IRS notices, IRS correspondence, and other documents about your tax problem.
We will contact you in writing, usually within 5 days from the interview, to say whether we can represent you. If we cannot represent you, we will try to help you find an attorney, accountant or volunteer who may be able to help.
NOTE: This information cannot take the place of advice from an attorney. Each case is different and requires individual advice. You should contact an attorney if you need representation on a tax matter or if you have questions.
The Texas Taxpayer Assistance Project is funded in part by a grant from the Internal Revenue Service.