IRS ends unannounced revenue officer visits

IRS tax return filing requirementsThe IRS recently announced a major policy change that will end most unannounced revenue officer visits to taxpayers. All the major news outlets are picking up this announcement, but it lacks context. Here is what you need to know.

IRS Role Distinctions

The IRS has revenue agents, revenue officers, and criminal investigation employees.

  • Revenue agents: Revenue agents are the auditors. In other words, they are the ones that review your tax return. This announcement does not impact their activities. Additionally, they very rarely visit unannounced. Most audit activity is now via mail, which you may know as a correspondence audit.
  • Revenue officers: This group is responsible for the collection of tax debt. The debts handled by revenue officers are typically more than $100,000. However, collection agencies often handle most smaller debts.
  • Criminal investigation agents: This group within the IRS is the only group that can carry weapons. You can also consider them one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. They are usually investigating criminal activity.

Revenue Officer Visits

The recent announcement only refers to revenue officers. The reason for the change is two-fold.

  1. Unannounced visits to collect a tax debt put IRS employees at risk. They are unarmed and can walk into uncertain situations that are truly unsafe.
  2. IRS scams are an increasing problem. If you know the IRS will not show up unannounced, you can be more certain that it is probably a scam when someone claims to be from the IRS.

If you are ever contacted by the IRS either by phone, mail, or in person, your first call should be to ask for professional help. This is the best way to avoid scams and ensure resolution to any outstanding problem does not increase your tax obligation. Of course, you can always contact RRBB Advisors if you have any questions.

Source: IR-2023-133


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