Taxpayer Advocate

Taxpayer Advocate for DC.gov

FAQs

A banner with the letters FAQ

What does it mean to have “taxpayer rights”?

Taxpayer rights are foundational principles that govern how OTR examines, assesses and collects taxes and how it treats taxpayers. While these rights do not allow a taxpayer to sue the District of Columbia for a violation, they do reflect a commitment by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of Tax and Revenue to protect these rights for all District taxpayers.

When will OTA intervene?

OTA will intervene in situations where the taxpayer has tried to resolve a problem through the normal channels but has been unable to resolve the matter, in cases of undue delay or unresponsiveness, cases that present a unique situation that need individualized review, cases where the taxpayer is experiencing imminent hardship, cases where there is no other opportunity for review. In addition, OTA will provide assistance and oversight as necessary to promote the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

When will OTA not intervene?

If the taxpayer has an active bankruptcy or a case pending before another tribunal, the taxpayer must wait until those proceedings are concluded before requesting OTA assistance. In addition, the taxpayer must have made an attempt to work through the “normal” channels before requesting assistance from OTA. For routine processing concerns (such as routine processing of returns, processing of refunds, or questions regarding online account access), the taxpayer should attempt to reach out to the assigned department and allow sufficient time for processing before contacting the OTA.

If the law is unfair, can OTA make an exception in my case?

The OTA can only recommend adjustments to accounts that are in accordance with District law. No one at OTR, including the OTA, can adjust an account in a way that is not consistent with the law.

How can the OTA help me?

The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is dedicated to being the voice of the taxpayer within OTR. As a taxpayer’s advocate, we can:

  • Review accounts to determine the source of a taxpayer’s liability, the progression of a case and the current status;
  • Make an independent recommendation to OTR regarding a case based on our understanding of the law and procedures;
  • Provide oversight to ensure that taxpayer matters are being handled consistently and transparently;
  • Escalate issues of non-responsiveness and excessive delay to management; and
  • Provide the taxpayer information regarding their rights, statutory and regulatory authority underlying assessments, and OTR policies.
  • Advocate for systemic change and provide accountability through the annual report submitted to the DC Council.

How do I ask for help?

Contact the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate. You can submit a form titled “Request for Taxpayer Assistance” at the walk-in customer service center located at 1101 4th St SW, Washington, DC 20024. Alternatively, you can request assistance by clicking on our website, sending an email to [email protected], or calling (202) 442-6348. We want to make it easy for taxpayers to request assistance—we only need enough information to be able to help you!

Are there income limitations for OTA assistance?

There are currently no income limitations for OTA assistance.

What types of taxes can OTA help with?

OTA is able to assist taxpayers with any tax administered by OTR.

Is my request kept confidential?

While any information submitted is confidential and cannot be released to the public, please know that OTA shares information with other OTR administrations, so we cannot guarantee that information will not be disclosed to other administrations within OTR, such as collections staff or auditors. If you upload documents into your MyTax account, that information will be visible to anyone within OTR, including the OTA.

What is “systemic advocacy”?

Systemic advocacy is working towards reform for issues that affect multiple people. If there is a matter that concerns multiple taxpayers within the District of Columbia, or improvements that you think will help taxpayers, please submit your feedback using the “Report a Systemic Problem” button on our website. Thank you for helping make DC’s tax system better!