The IRS has announced that it will begin visiting taxpayers who have ongoing tax compliance issues. The tax issue could be items such as missing tax returns or past due taxes. The IRS has stated that the visits would come after numerous contacts, by mail, with the individual or business. Meaning, if the IRS shows up at someone’s home or business, that taxpayer should surely be aware of the tax issue.
The IRS will focus its efforts in communities where there have been a limited number of revenue officers available due to declining IRS resources. FYI – there have been reported IRS visits in Lancaster County. The primary goal of the IRS visit is to make face-to-face contact with taxpayers. This first face-to-face contact from a revenue officer will almost always be unannounced.
When a revenue officer visits a taxpayer, the revenue office should provide two forms of official identification, or credentials, that include a serial number and photo of the revenue officer. Taxpayers have the right to see both of these credentials.
A legitimate revenue officer is there to help taxpayers understand and meet their obligations, not to make threats or demand some unusual form of payment for nonexistent liabilities. The revenue officer will review with you the tax liability and amounts owed and will NOT demand payment without explanation. The revenue officer will take appropriate actions to collect any taxes owed during the visit and will provide a range of payment options, including payment by check made out to the U.S. Treasury.
No one prefers to have a visit from a revenue officer, particularly one that is not announced. The best course of action for individual or business taxpayers is to be responsive to notices received from the IRS or other state or local taxing authorities and to forward these notices to your accountant as soon as you receive them. If you are uncomfortable talking with the revenue agent, our recommendation is to take the revenue officer’s contact information and, if possible, write down the tax years and tax forms and any amounts due and inform the revenue office that you will be contacting your accountant to assist with a response. In order for the accountant to respond, it is probable that a power of attorney will need to be completed providing taxpayer authorization for the accountant to communicate with the IRS on your behalf.
For more information on this topic, visit: www.irs.gov/newsroom
By Tim Kershner, CPA, Partner
Tim is a Partner in the firm’s Assurance Division. With over 30 years of experience in public accounting, 16+ years with Walz Group, Tim has provided businesses and their owners with proactive and expert services tailored to their situation and needs. He provides personal/business consulting, accounting, auditing and tax services to clients in various business industries with some concentration in the construction and medical services categories.
Tim is both a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA). He serves on the Board for ABC Keystone and Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic.