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Published:   |   Last Updated: September 11, 2023

NTA Blog: Collection Part Two: End of the IRS Revenue Officer “Pop-In” Visit

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The IRS announced it is ending the practice of unannounced visits from its revenue officers. The policy change is due to the rise in tax scams and taxpayer confusion over verifying an IRS employee’s identity, leading to safety concerns for both taxpayers and IRS employees. This is good news for taxpayers since they will no longer be caught off guard and unprepared to discuss their unpaid taxes. Additionally, there is the benefit of an improved taxpayer experience when taxpayers receive advance notice and other information in the mail.

The end of unannounced visits does not mean revenue officers have stopped working outstanding tax due cases. It just changes the way they contact taxpayers in person. In the past, a revenue officer would conduct a preliminary investigation and then visit the taxpayer’s home or place of business unannounced. Now, prior to any face-to-face visit, you will generally (there are some rare exceptions) receive an appointment letter, Letter 725-B. Appointments can be held at the IRS office, your home or business, or by telephone. A revenue officer may request subsequent appointments at your home or place of business to secure additional financial information or view assets.

It’s vitally important that you keep the scheduled appointment or call the revenue officer to reschedule. If you don’t, the IRS might levy your bank account or wages.

How will you or your representative know it is actually the IRS writing or calling? The IRS has published this fact sheet to help. If you have any doubts the person is an actual IRS revenue officer, schedule your appointment in person at the IRS office or request the option of sending any information to the IRS via secure messaging using your online account.

While this change to unannounced revenue officer visits is noteworthy, the IRS collection process itself remains the same. Once a tax is assessed, the IRS is required to send the taxpayer a notice and demand letter (generally a Notice CP14). If the tax debt remains unresolved, the IRS begins the next phase, commonly referred to as the notice stream, and mails a series of notices (CP501, CP503, CP504) to the taxpayer. If the taxes are still not paid, the IRS assigns the account to the Automated Collection System (ACS), or if certain dollar criteria or complexity criteria are met the account may be transferred to IRS field collection for assignment to a revenue officer. The IRS may issue a levy and file a tax lien on accounts assigned to ACS or field collection. Prior to issuing a levy, and immediately following the filing of a notice of federal tax lien, the IRS must advise you in writing of your appeal rights and how to exercise them.

The IRS is required to inform taxpayers about the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Learn more about your rights as a taxpayer by visiting our Get Help Page. Among these rights are the right to retain representation and the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum. The IRS should explain your appeal rights throughout the collection process. See Publication 1660, Collection Appeal Rights.

Conclusion

The end of unannounced revenue officer visits does not put an end to your responsibility to resolve any outstanding tax debt or file any unfiled returns. Timely respond to IRS contacts and, if possible, attempt to resolve your outstanding tax debt or past due returns. It is important to remember that the IRS will NEVER call and ask you to pay via card (gift, debit, or credit), wire transfer from your bank, or threaten you with arrest. For updates on current tax scams, see the Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts page on IRS.gov.

As I discussed in the Collection Blog Part One, taxpayers do not need to wait for the IRS to resume sending notices or for a revenue officer to reach out to discuss delinquent balances. If possible, taxpayers should act now and stop additional interest and penalties from accruing as the current interest rate on unpaid tax liabilities is seven percent, which accrues daily. See the Collection Blog Part One, which discusses the collection options available to taxpayers.

Additional Resources

Taxpayers are entitled to representation to assist with any tax matter. Qualifying taxpayers needing assistance with a collection matter may obtain free representation by contacting a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITCs are independent from the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and who need to resolve tax problems with the IRS. LITCs can represent taxpayers in audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes before the IRS and in court. In addition, LITCs can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. For more information or to find an LITC near you, see the LITC page at www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/litc or IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. This publication is also available by calling the IRS toll-free at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS offering free help to taxpayers. To see if you qualify or for other information, visit www.TaxpayerAdvocate.irs.gov.

Read the past NTA Blogs

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the National Taxpayer Advocate. The National Taxpayer Advocate presents an independent taxpayer perspective that does not necessarily reflect the position of the IRS, the Treasury Department, or the Office of Management and Budget.

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