Updated: May 5, 2024

Indiana Tax Advocate Office Guide to Help

Indiana Tax Advocate Office

When to Contact the TAO and How They Can Help With Complex Indiana Tax Problems

The Indiana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Advocate Office offers extra help to taxpayers dealing with complex tax issues or financial hardship. The Indiana taxpayer advocate service is part of the Department of Revenue, but it functions as an independent unit. 

Looking for extra help with your state taxes? Not getting the support you need from the IN DOR? Then, the Indiana tax advocate office may be the right option. 

This guide provides an overview of the Indiana Taxpayer Advocate Office, what they do, how they can help, and how to reach them. It also covers alternatives to the Indiana taxpayer advocate service. 

What Is the Indiana Tax Advocate?

The Taxpayer Advocate Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR), dedicated to helping people with complex tax problems. In Indiana, the Taxpayer Advocate Office helps taxpayers with hardships, offers in compromise, and tax warrant expungements requests. It also helps service members in Active Duty Status who have Indiana or federal tax debts. 


When Should You Contact the Taxpayer Advocate's Office?

If you cannot resolve your tax problem with the Indiana Department of Revenue, you can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Office. However, you should always contact the Indiana DOR first. If you contact the Taxpayer Advocate Office first, they may direct you back to the DOR.

Here are seven signs you should reach out to the Taxpayer Advocate Office:

  1. You couldn't resolve your Indiana state tax issue with the DOR. 
  2. The DOR didn't provide you with a response to your query/issue by the promised date.
  3. The DOR has not responded to you for over 120 days. 
  4. The DOR provided you with incorrect instructions or information. 
  5. You're dealing with a recurring or systemic processing issue from the DOR.
  6. You can't afford to pay your taxes due to financial, medical, or other hardship reasons. 
  7. You're an active duty service member who needs help with Indiana state taxes. 

Ideally, you should be able to document these issues. The more documentation you have from the DOR, the easier it will be to work with the Taxpayer Advocate's Office. 

How to Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Office in Indiana

To contact the Taxpayer Advocate Office, you can use any of the following contact methods. 

Taxpayer Advocate Office phone number

(317) 232 4692

Taxpayer Advocate Office mailing address 

Indiana Department of Revenue
Taxpayer Advocate Office 
PO Box 6155
Indianapolis, IN 46206-6155

Taxpayer Advocate Office fax number

(317) 232-5425

Taxpayer Advocate Office email address

[email protected]

How Does the Indiana Tax Advocate Help Taxpayers?

As indicated above, the Taxpayer Advocate Office helps with the following tax relief programs in Indiana:

  • Complex tax issues — If you have a complex tax issue, you can request help from the TAO by filing Form TAO-PRP. 
  • Hardship — If you're struggling to make ends meet, the TAO can help you apply for hardship status. If you're approved, the DOR will pause or stop collection actions on your account. To apply, you should submit an FS-H form. 
  • Offer in compromise — The TAO also has the right to waive some of your tax debt and let you pay less than you owe through the offer in compromise program. To apply, you should file Form FS-OIC. 
  • Tax warrant expungement — The TAO can also help you get a tax warrant expunged. Expungement erases the record of the tax warrant. To apply, you should submit the Indiana Expungement Request Form. 
  • Service members in Active Duty Status — Under the Indiana Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active duty service members are eligible for relief if their Indiana tax debt is affecting their active duty status. The TAO can also help you navigate this relief program. 

The following sections contain more information on these specific tax problems and resolution options. Keep reading to learn more about what the Taxpayer Advocate Office can do for you.

Indiana Tax Advocate Forms

Generally, you need to submit a form if you want help from the Indiana Taxpayer Advocate Office. Here is an overview of the forms used to request help from the advocate service. You can download pdf versions of these forms on the Indiana Taxpayer Advocate's website

Form TAO-PRP (Request for Assistance From the Taxpayer Advocate Office)

If you can't resolve your tax issue with the DOR, you can use this form to request help from the Taxpayer Advocate Office in Indiana. You can also use this form if you have a complaint or a suggestion about a DOR procedure, policy, or staff member. 

The TAO-PRP form is very straightforward. It requires basic contact information plus details about your tax issue. Note that if you haven't tried to work with the DOR, the TAO may reject your request and send you to the relevant division of the DOR. You should not use this form for the following:

  • Asking for help during an audit. 
  • Checking on a state tax refund.
  • Requesting a stop to collection actions. 
  • Asking for a payment plan, offer in compromise, hardship status, or a fee waiver. 
  • Requesting a change in state tax laws. 
  • Responding to a notice from the DOR. 
  • Seeking advice on how to file your tax return. 
  • Protesting your assessment. 

Once you fill out the TAO-PRP form, you can send it to the Taxpayer Advocate Indiana Office address noted above. Note that the Indiana advocate office does help with many of the above issues, but you must request help using a different form. 

Form FS-H (Indiana Department of Revenue Hardship Financial Statement)

If you cannot afford to pay your Indiana taxes, you can apply for hardship through the Taxpayer Advocate program. Form FS-H is a four-page form that requires details about your income, expenses, and debts. 

There are no fast and hard rules about hardship. The advocate service reviews each hardship request on a case-by-case basis. You may qualify for hardship if you or an immediate family member has a terminal or critical illness, you have experienced losses due to a natural disaster, or you've been recently unemployed. 

If you get hardship status, the DOR will temporarily pause collection actions on your account. This is not permanent. The DOR will review your situation on a regular basis to see if anything has changed. Hardship status does not eliminate or reduce your Indiana tax bill. It also does not reinstate your Registered Retail Merchant Certificate or any professional licenses or permits that were revoked due to the nonpayment of tax. 

Form FS-OIC Booklet (Offer in Compromise)

The advocate service can also help you if you want to apply for an Offer in Compromise. This is a difficult program to qualify for. Generally, the DOR only accepts offers if they represent the most the department is likely to be able to collect on the tax bill. 

To apply for an offer in compromise, you can either submit Form FS-OIC to the Indiana DOR or send a copy of your IRS offer-in-compromise application or approval letter. Note that even if your offer in compromise is accepted, it will not put you back in good standing if you have lost a professional license due to unpaid taxes. 

Form SF 56196 (Expungement Request Form)

You can use Form SF 56196 to request to have tax warrants expunged. You can submit this form to the DOR or the tax advocate service. You must be current on your Indiana filing and payment requirements for the last five years to qualify. The state will often expunge the warrant if you have paid the tax, the warrant is more than ten years old, or the warrant was issued in mistake. 

Alternatives to the Indiana Taxpayer Advocate Office

If you need help with Indiana state tax problems, the Taxpayer Advocate Office is not the only option. You may also want to reach out to a tax professional. Tax attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPA), and enrolled agents (EA) can all represent you in front of the IN DOR or IRS. 

These tax pros can help you identify your situation's best tax resolution options. They can also help you apply for payment plans, offer in compromise, hardship status, or other Indiana tax programs. When you hire a tax pro, they work for you. 

Get Help With Indiana Tax Problems

Using TaxCure, you can search for a tax pro with Indiana experience. You can also filter your search results based on the type of tax problem you're having, and you can also review the ratings of different tax pros as you look for the right fit for your situation. Contact an Indiana tax pro today to get help with Indiana tax problems.

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