Working to resolve taxpayers’ concerns with the Vermont Department of Taxes
What is a Taxpayer Advocate?
The Taxpayer Advocate:
Who may use the services of the Taxpayer Advocate?
- Offers free guidance to help taxpayers resolve tax problems that they are unable to resolve on their own
- Works for fair treatment of taxpayers
- Provides education to taxpayers so they know and understand their rights
Taxpayer Advocate services are available if a taxpayer has concerns with the following:
How do I request Taxpayer Advocate services?
- An issue with, or action by, the Vermont Department of Taxes not resolved by normal, established procedures within 180 days
- A response or resolution not received by the date promised
- An action by the Department will cause a substantial hardship, irreparable injury, or long-term adverse impacts
Taxpayers may contact the Taxpayer Advocate by telephone or letter* and provide the following information:
*Email is not recommended as it is not secure, and confidential tax information must remain secure.
- Name, address, Social Security Number, or Vermont business account number
- Contact information: telephone number, mailing address, email address
- Type of tax(es) and reporting period(s)
- Description of the problem and efforts to resolve it
The Taxpayer Advocate works with taxpayers to address their areas of concern. Taxpayers may expect the following:
What the Taxpayer Advocate cannot do
- Acknowledgement of the request for services
- Independent review of the issue
- Information on rights
- Guidance on how to address the issue
- If needed, action by the Taxpayer Advocate on the taxpayer’s behalf
- Update on progress
- Explanation of outcome
- Advice on how to prevent future Vermont tax problems
- Courteous and confidential service
The scope of the Taxpayer Advocate’s services does not include the following:
Taxpayer Advocate services are not a substitute for established Department procedures or the appeal process. However, if those procedures are not working effectively, the Taxpayer Advocate will assist the taxpayer to facilitate the process and assure the taxpayer receives rights to which he or she is entitled.
- Changing a legal or technical decision or a commissioner’s determination
- Overriding the law
- Representing the taxpayer at Department hearings
- Becoming involved once the appeal process begins, unless there is undue delay in receiving a hearing
Disclosing taxpayer information
The Taxpayer Advocate has the discretion to not disclose taxpayer information to other Vermont Department of Taxes divisions. However, unless the taxpayer specifically requests no disclosure be made, the information may need to be disclosed to other Department employees to assist in resolving tax issues.
Taxpayer Advocate and systemic issues
Systemic issues are those that:
While reviewing individual taxpayer issues, the Taxpayer Advocate may detect systemic issues. However, any individual, business, tax professional, or other interested party may request a review of Department policy or procedures if they believe there is a systemic issue.
- Always affect multiple taxpayers
- Involve Vermont Department of Taxes systems, policies, and procedures
- Involve protection of taxpayers’ rights, receipt of fair treatment, provision of essential taxpayer services
Requests for review of systemic issues should contain the following information:
The Taxpayer Advocate researches and analyzes the systemic issue and makes recommendations to the Vermont Department of Taxes directed toward addressing and preventing such issues from happening again.
- Name of requesting party
- Contact information: telephone number and/or e-mail address
- Type of taxpayers affected and, if known, number of affected taxpayers
- Description of the issue
- If known, the system, policy, or procedure involved
For more information about the Taxpayer Advocate, refer to 32 V.S.A. §3205(b).
Vermont Department of Taxes
ATTN: Taxpayer Advocate
133 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-1401
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