The IRS Announces No More Surprise Visits
In a move to enhance public trust and safety, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has declared a significant shift in its operations. The agency will cease most of its unannounced visits to taxpayers, a practice that has been in place for several decades. This decision is part of the IRS’s broader transformation initiatives, which began with the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act and the introduction of the IRS Strategic Operating Plan.
How Things are Changing
Historically, IRS revenue officers, who are non-armed personnel, would make surprise visits to both residences and businesses. Their primary role was to assist taxpayers in settling their account balances, which often involved collecting overdue taxes and addressing unfiled tax returns. However, moving forward, these unexpected visits will be largely discontinued. Instead, the IRS will send out letters to set up scheduled meetings, ensuring clarity and reducing potential misunderstandings.
This change comes in the wake of growing security concerns. In recent times, there has been a surge in scam artists targeting taxpayers, leading to confusion about genuine IRS home visits. Some of these fraudsters even go to the extent of impersonating IRS agents, causing distress not only to the unsuspecting taxpayers but also posing challenges for local law enforcement.
The Risks of Surprise Visits
For the IRS revenue officers, these unscheduled visits were not without risks. They often encountered unpredictable situations when trying to address tax delinquencies, adding to the challenges of their job.
The IRS’s decision is backed by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU). Tony Reardon, the National President of NTEU, expressed his support, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the safety of IRS employees, especially given the increasing challenges they face due to misleading narratives about the agency. “The safety of IRS employees is of paramount importance, and this decision will help protect those whose jobs have only grown more dangerous in recent years because of false, inflammatory rhetoric about the agency and its workforce.”
The Future of the IRS
The IRS’s transformation is ongoing, with a focus on enhancing tax administration. The agency is set to increase its staffing for compliance work, thanks to the funds from the Inflation Reduction Act. The IRS is also honing its strategies, targeting high-income taxpayers with tax discrepancies and leveraging improved analytics to concentrate on severe tax issues.
In lieu of the surprise visits, the IRS will now initiate contact through an appointment letter, allowing taxpayers to be better prepared for the meeting. This streamlined approach aims to expedite the resolution process, minimizing the need for multiple interactions.
However, there will be exceptions. The IRS will still conduct unannounced visits in specific situations, such as serving summonses and subpoenas or when there’s a risk of assets being concealed. But these instances will be rare, a stark contrast to the numerous surprise visits conducted under the previous policy.
What You Should Know
This policy change by the IRS is a step towards modernizing its operations, ensuring better service for taxpayers, and prioritizing the safety of both the public and its employees. For the American taxpayer and business owner, they can rest easy knowing that the IRS will not appear unannounced to confront them about their outstanding tax balances.
If you’re the taxpayer or business owner with outstanding tax debt, then click here or call (833) 391-1038 for a free consultation with a qualified tax professional.