Most taxpayers, who have to contact the Internal Revenue Service, speak with IRS revenue agents. However, if you’re facing a delinquent income tax bill, you may have to talk with an IRS revenue officer. These professionals have more authority than revenue agents, but there are limits on what they can do. Here’s a look at what IRS revenue officers are and what collections tactics they can legally do.
What is an IRS Revenue Officer?
An IRS revenue officer, or an internal revenue officer, is a specially trained IRS agent that has authority to take collection action. Unlike a joint IRS agent, revenue officers have received individual instruction about the agency’s power to collect taxes in any way possible. Their roles give them the authority to contact taxpayers in any means. This authority includes calling on the phone, visiting at home, or making visits at their workplaces. Revenue officers may also issue written notices instructing taxpayers to appear at hearings or meetings.
When do IRS Revenue Officers get involved?
Most taxpayers do not speak with IRS revenue officers. These collectors are involved when a case involves extreme tax negligence. Similarly, this might include a situation where a taxpayer fails to pay back taxes for an extended period of if the person has an unusually large amount of tax debt owed to the IRS. Those who have a record of not filing tax returns or paying their debts may also have to talk to an IRS revenue officer.
What can an IRS Revenue Officer do to me?
If an IRS revenue officer contacts you about scheduling a meeting or to immediately answer questions, you may be wondering what power IRS Revenue Officers have. An IRS revenue officer is not law enforcement. Their job is to collect the money you owe. This means is by handing the cash to him or he may begin the process to collect it.
Portable assets like cars, boats or bonds can be taken from you by the IRS revenue officer, but not before due process. Don’t ignore letters from agents mainly if you receive messages through certified mail. These notices are your opportunity to stop the IRS from taking your property either by contesting the seizure or requesting a review.
IRS revenue officers can freeze your liquid assets. Most often these are savings and checking accounts. Due process applies to these assets. However, if you are not cooperating with your IRS revenue officer and do not have an authorized representative working with them for you, you may discover your account frozen when you are in the checkout line.
After an audit determines you owe, the IRS revenue officer can submit to have your wages garnished to get payment. The amount the officer garnishes is based on what you claim. For example, if you are single with no children, the officer can garnish all take-home wages just over $185 per week.
Obtain a Search Warrant
IRS revenue officers are not allowed to enter your premises without permission. If you refuse to let them in, they can go file court orders against you and obtain a search warrant. When they do, expect local law enforcement to accompany them. Additionally, the police will take from whatever items he is seeking including computers, disks, and files.
How to deal with an IRS Revenue Officer
If you receive a notice or a phone call from an IRS revenue officer, don’t panic. While they have the authority to pursue collection, they do not have the power to request an audit or examine your finances. They also cannot arrest you. That responsibility is on the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division, which is a separate department.
IRS revenue officers have received specific training in how to work with taxpayers about the collection. They know the proper procedure, which could make it easier to communicate with them amicably. If you need help, there are options to consult an experienced tax attorney who can help you understand your rights.
An IRS revenue officer isn’t the one to take you to jail. This officer carries an ID badge and does not possess a gun. The officer can refer your case for criminal procedures and come to your job or residence with an IRS special agent. The IRS special agent can arrest you or shoot to defend himself. Just remember, people who go to jail over taxes are not merely debtors. You have to cheat on your taxes in some way or purposely attempt to trick or commit fraud against the IRS.
If you owe the IRS, a reputable tax relief company like Optima Tax Relief can help you reduce or eliminate your tax debt. Schedule a consultation, and an experienced representative will advise you on the best method of getting a break from IRS collections.
Tompor, a graduate of Michigan State University, also has a master’s of business administration degree from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. She enjoys writing about taxes, saving for retirement and other financial issues that affect everyday pocketbooks. Her work has been featured in Detroit Free Press, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Finance, CNBC, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, The (Toronto) Star, Baltimore Sun, Seattle Times, Miami Herald and more