If you owe money in back taxes to the IRS, an IRS revenue officer (RO) may be assigned to your case. Your case will first be assessed by an IRS revenue agent and then escalated to a revenue officer if it is felt your case requires further attention. IRS revenue officers are granted significant powers by the IRS and can issue levies and penalties, such as seizure of your bank account, freezing your assets and wage garnishment.
In this article we’ll take a look at the steps you can take when dealing with an IRS revenue officer and how to make the process as painless as possible.
You will usually be contacted in advance by a revenue officer and asked to schedule an interview. However, you could also receive an unannounced visit. There are fewer IRS revenue officers in the field now than there were 10 years ago, however, and unscheduled visits are rare. If you do receive such a visit, you may be required to sit down for a face-to-face interview. Unannounced visits are usually only carried out if letters or phone calls have been ignored. This type of interview may be conducted at your place of residence or business. Prescheduled interviews may also be arranged to take place at an IRS office.
Many people fall behind with their taxes every year, often through poor decisions or a change in their circumstances. The most important thing is to recognize that you have a problem to deal with and to appoint a professional to support you through the process. A knowledgeable tax attorney has the skills and experience to handle any communications from an IRS revenue officer. While revenue officers may have the power and rights to freeze or seize assets or garnish your wages, they also have the ability to offer a compromise or to find easier ways for you to pay. Installments, for example, could be the right option for anybody able to settle their back taxes in monthly repayments.
Before you appoint a tax attorney, it’s up to you to get a little organized. You’ll need bank statements, proof of income and expenses and any information that will help your tax attorney negotiate with an IRS revenue officer on your behalf. If you have received a form 433-B from your revenue officer, this is also useful, as it determines how much the revenue officer must receive from you each month in order to settle your bill. Your tax attorney will help you with completing this form.
If you have been contacted by an IRS revenue officer, or you think you may be contacted in the near future, don’t panic. The most important thing to do is collect as much information as possible together and contact a tax attorney for advice and support. In doing so you will be in a stronger position to negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement.
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