Meet the IRS: What Is a Revenue Officer?

Even if you’ve never met a revenue officer, if you’ve ever struggled with a serious tax issue, you’re more than likely no stranger to the IRS. Depending on the amount of money you owe the IRS, you’ve probably received your fair share of letters from them.

To the IRS’s credit, they’re nothing if not communicative. Unfortunately, that also means they’re likely to send you a lot of bills, notices, and warnings. Any piece of mail from the IRS can be intimidating. But they pale in comparison to another alternative—and much more rare—method of IRS contact:

When an IRS representative shows up at your door.

If getting a letter from the IRS is scary, then getting a visit from the IRS is downright terrifying. Not only is this completely new territory for most taxpayers, but it’s also a sign that the IRS has a vested interest in your tax case.

There are multiple kinds of IRS representatives that you may be forced to interact with some day: revenue officers, revenue agents, and IRS special agents, to name a few. We think you should be knowledgeable about their specialties, abilities, and your rights when dealing with them.

So, what exactly is a revenue officer?

What is an IRS revenue officer?

Unlike revenue agents, which perform tasks like tax audits and other assessments, IRS revenue officers are more on the enforcement and collections side of the equation. They deal with serious tax debt cases in which the IRS has not been able to collect a debt via traditional methods of tax debt enforcement.

When does the IRS send a revenue officer?

The IRS doesn’t jump directly to sending a revenue officer; instead, they employ a number of methods of reaching out to a taxpayer in order to attempt to resolve a debt.

We frequently write about these methods, because they’re instrumental to our work in tax debt relief and audit defense. First, the IRS will attempt to reach you by mail (never by phone) with their assessment of your tax debt. Assuming you don’t respond—which you should—they will continue to send you notices until taking further, more substantive actions in order to get their payment.

The more drastic actions you may experience before a revenue officer may include things like tax levies on your home or other assets, as well as wage garnishments that siphon off a portion of your paychecks from your employer. You may not experience these more severe IRS actions, but you’ll likely have received a number of notices from the IRS. So your visitor shouldn’t come as that big a surprise.

What does a revenue officer do when they visit?

In most situations, an IRS revenue officer is tasked with attempting to get the taxpayer or business to begin paying their tax debt to the IRS. However, there’s a lot of flexibility with the methods and strategies they may employ in order to accomplish that goal.

No, a revenue officer isn’t going to try to take the keys to your car. More likely, your officer will visit your home or business to collect information. They’ll find out where you live, spending tendencies, and the general value of your assets. They’ll probably ask if they can enter your home and will ask you a wide range of questions about your occupation, dependents, and your tax debt situation.

What should I do if a revenue officer visits?

When a revenue officer visits your home or business, it shines a new, harsh light on your tax debt. It’s an intimidating situation that can scare just about anyone, but you don’t need to be afraid. Here are a few basics to remember should a revenue officer come to your door.

  • Make sure they have credentials. IRS revenue officers won’t ask you to hand them cash or give them your credit card information, but scammers might. If someone claims to be from the IRS, ask them to show you their credentials.
  • You have rights. Much like law enforcement, you don’t need to let a revenue officer into your home without a warrant. Even if they ask, you don’t need to allow them entry—and it may be better that you don’t.
  • Get a tax team. If your tax debt is serious enough to warrant a visit from a revenue officer, you could use help. Enlist the support of tax professionals to help you get out from under the IRS.

Meet a revenue officer? It’s time to get help.

Serious tax issues require serious tax solutions. Now that you understand of the role of the IRS revenue officer, it’s time to find a way out. Give us a call today, and our expert team of tax specialists, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals will help you take on the revenue officer—and the IRS—together.

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