Unannounced Visits Will End
The Internal Revenue Service has declared that effective immediately, random visits to taxpayers by their revenue officers will cease, barring some exceptional situations. Instead of these surprise visits, revenue officers will establish contact with taxpayers via an appointment letter (725-B) and arrange for a subsequent meeting. This change has been prompted by heightened security concerns for both taxpayers and IRS employees, hence, these visits will only occur in severely limited scenarios.
Occurrences of fraudsters posing as IRS agents at taxpayers’ homes have been reported, leading to a state of confusion among both taxpayers and local police forces. In response to this, the IRS plans to update its website and internal procedures to reflect these changes. The Inflation Reduction Act has provided a ten-year funding plan, empowering the IRS with the responsibility of improving services for taxpayers, integrating equity into tax compliance strategies, and advancing its technological infrastructure to better accommodate taxpayers and tax professionals.
Subsequent Requests for Meetings with IRS
“We are reassessing the operation of the IRS with the aim of enhancing our service to taxpayers and the nation. This alteration is a logical step forward,” stated Daniel Werfel, the Commissioner of the IRS. “By modifying this long-established procedure, we can boost the public’s trust in our tax administration and enhance safety for both taxpayers and IRS employees.”
In a discussion with journalists, Werfel presented this new strategy as an integral part of the agency’s transformation. The goal is to use IRS resources more efficiently and to foster a more cooperative relationship with taxpayers. Having served as the commissioner for four months, Werfel expressed his desire to put an end to the general perception of IRS employees going door-to-door for tax collection.
The agency has been striving to present a more service-oriented approach to taxpayers, while at the same time, Republicans are intensifying anxieties that the tax authority is recruiting 87,000 new agents to impose pressure on small businesses and the middle class. The hostility toward the IRS has amplified the risks its agents face; last year, the organization initiated a thorough security review following false information and misleading social media posts that incited threats against employees.
The IRS announced on Monday that surprise visits would persist only in a handful of “exceptional” situations and would largely be replaced by letters sent by mail to arrange meetings. Werfel mentioned that the in-person visits were typically employed to collect tax debts exceeding $100,000 and were used to indicate that the agency was closely monitoring the cases of taxpayers. In the new system, taxpayers who neglect written correspondences from the IRS could ultimately face penalties or property liens.
IRS Unannounced Visits for Consumers Ending
Each year, the agency typically conducts tens of thousands of unannounced visits to homes and businesses. These will only continue in scenarios involving summonses and subpoenas, or the confiscation of assets. The IRS stated that such cases usually occur less than a few hundred times annually.
The IRS maintains about 2,000 unarmed revenue officers who frequently conduct unannounced visits to discuss due taxes or missing returns. They sometimes carry out surprise visits if they suspect a business might be lagging in withheld employment taxes or to recover a debt.
The criminal investigation division of the IRS, which does employ armed agents who visit homes and businesses, will not be impacted by this policy change for revenue officers.