IRS Ends Most Unannounced Home Visits

As of July 24, 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has decided to discontinue the practice of making unannounced visits to taxpayers’ homes and businesses, except in very limited circumstances. IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel made this announcement during a teleconference with reporters, stating that this change takes immediate effect.

So, why this change, you may ask? Commissioner Werfel explained that it’s a response to the rise in scam activity and concerns about the safety of both taxpayers and IRS employees during these unexpected visits. With the increase in scam artists posing as IRS agents, taxpayers have grown uncertain about who’s truly knocking on their doors. Additionally, IRS employees expressed fears about their personal safety while conducting these unannounced visits, and this concern was shared by the National Treasury Employees Union.

What does this mean for you? Unannounced visits will be replaced with scheduled appointments. If the IRS needs to meet with you, you will receive an appointment letter, known as a 725-B letter, which will set a specific time for a revenue officer to meet with you. According to Commissioner Werfel, this change aims to make taxpayers feel more prepared and informed when it’s time for a meeting.

Furthermore, taxpayers whose cases are assigned to a revenue officer can now schedule face-to-face meetings at a designated location and time. This will streamline the process and help you have all the necessary information and documents ready, ultimately leading to quicker resolutions for your tax cases.

But what happens if you’re not reachable by mail or don’t respond to the appointment letter? Commissioner Werfel assured that the IRS has other methods to drive compliance, such as imposing a lien or a levy, which can be done remotely. It’s important to note that the discontinued unannounced visits were primarily related to substantial tax debts, with a median debt of $110,000 in these cases. Small tax debts were not the focus of these visits.

However, there are a few “rare instances” where unannounced visits will continue to happen. These include serving a summons and subpoena or conducting sensitive enforcement activities like asset seizure. Commissioner Werfel emphasized that these situations represent a small fraction of visits compared to the tens of thousands of other visits conducted each year under the previous policy.

It’s worth mentioning that this change in policy will not affect activities carried out by the Criminal Investigations division, which operates under its own set of rules and protocols.

Commissioner Werfel summed it up by stating that this decision is part of a larger effort to make the IRS more efficient and effective. It’s one of many steps in the IRS’s ongoing transformation, supported by funding from the Inflation Reduction Act.

This change aims to create a more structured and transparent process for taxpayers while maintaining the IRS’s ability to enforce tax compliance effectively. If you have any questions or concerns about your tax situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to assist you with all your tax-related needs.

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