IRS Transforms Policy: Halts Unannounced Revenue Officer Visits

by | Aug 8, 2023

In a significant shift, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced an end to most unannounced visits by agency revenue officers to taxpayers, a practice that has been in place for several decades. This transformation is a part of larger efforts to enhance safety measures and reduce public confusion while modernizing IRS operations. 

Revenue officers, who are unarmed IRS agency employees, have a primary duty of visiting households and businesses to help taxpayers resolve their account balances by collecting unpaid taxes and unfiled tax returns. However, effective immediately, this policy will cease, and in its place, taxpayers will receive mailed letters to schedule meetings. Exceptions will be made only in unique circumstances. 

This policy change has been instigated as part of a broader plan to transform IRS operations, following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act last year and the unveiling of the new IRS Strategic Operating Plan in April. 

"We are taking a fresh look at how the IRS operates to better serve taxpayers and the nation, and making this change is a common-sense step," stated IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. The new policy has been well received by stakeholders, with the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) supporting the transformation.

IRS's decision to halt unannounced visits by IRS Field Collection employees is seen as a move to increase confidence in tax administration work and enhance safety for both taxpayers and IRS employees. The decision has been applauded by IRS Field Collection employees and NTEU leaders who have raised safety concerns in recent times due to dangerous situations emerging from unannounced visits.

An increase in scam artists posing as IRS agents and bombarding taxpayers has led to confusion and security concerns. This new policy aims to alleviate these problems, reducing stress for both taxpayers and IRS employees. 

Revenue officers will now instead make initial contact with taxpayers through an appointment letter, known as a 725-B, and schedule a follow-up meeting. This will not only help taxpayers feel more prepared but also streamline the process, reducing the burden of multiple future meetings.

Although unannounced visits are being phased out, there will still be limited situations where such visits will occur. These rare instances include the service of summonses and subpoenas and sensitive enforcement activities involving the seizure of assets. To give a perspective, these situations typically number less than a few hundred each year, a stark contrast to the tens of thousands of unannounced visits that occurred annually under the old policy.

This change in policy forms a part of the broader IRS Strategic Operating Plan, initiated with 10-year funding available from the Inflation Reduction Act. The IRS is committed to transforming the agency to improve taxpayer service, add fairness to tax compliance efforts, and modernize technology. 

Overall, this policy change signifies the IRS's shifting focus to a more streamlined, efficient, and safety-conscious system, aiming to better serve taxpayers and IRS employees alike. The agency continues to focus on key areas, such as high-income taxpayers with tax issues, as part of its ongoing transformation. As Commissioner Werfel succinctly put it, "The only losers with this change in policy are scammers posing as the IRS."

If you have any questions about taxes contact Freese, Peralez, & Associates today!