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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 39145
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Ely, I received a letter from the Department of Advocacy

Customer Question

hi Ely, I received a letter from the Department of Advocacy Services referencing IRS Publication 4681 Cancelled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonements...I do have a large amount of nonbusiness credit card debt and the IRS publication does say that this type of debt can be forgiven if issued a 1099-C by your creditors....I called the number on the letter and spoke to the guy on the phone....he listed 3 options for debt reduction: credit consueling/consolidation, chap 13 bankruptcy, and then debt dispute....debt dispute is when a 3rd party company reaches out to the collection agencies to whom your creditors sold your debt and attempts to verify that the debt is in fact legitimate....I googled this type of letter online and came up with many posts referencing it is a im wondering if this is legitimate, and if not, what do I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.


There is no IRS Department of Advocacy Services. The IRS Tax Advocate Service (TAS) is a legitimate department of the IRS -- however, it never initiates first contact with a taxpayer. The taxpayer must initiate first contact with TAS.

So, while I won't say that the organization who sent you the letter is a scam -- I can say that the organization is not the IRS -- it may be simily an organization seeking to provide you with debt consolidation services (for a price, of course).

In my opinion, the only legitimate debt relief service is a licensed bankruptcy lawyer in your jurisdiction. Typical debt relief agencies charge huge commissions, whereas consumer bankruptcy attorneys have generally fixed charges imposed by the federal court system. Bankruptcy is more effective, and generally less costly.

If you are concerned about the letter, you can complain to the USPS Poetal Inspection Service.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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