vice squeezing a wallet symbolizing the IRS taking a worker's money

IRS Stops Surprise Home and Office Visits (mostly)

The IRS has recently updated its policy regarding the practice of surprise visits by its revenue officers to the homes or businesses of taxpayers. The new policy, which is part of a wider IRS restructuring, is intended to enhance safety and reduce public confusion.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel announced to the press that, effective immediately, IRS collection employees are highly unlikely to show up unannounced at your door unless a meeting has been pre-scheduled. This shift is a significant departure from the IRS’s previous practices, which have been in place for many years.

In the past, revenue officers, who are distinct from revenue agents responsible for conducting audits, would make unexpected visits to homes and businesses to collect substantial tax debts, with the median unpaid balance being $110,000.

A key driver behind this policy change is the safety concern for both IRS employees and taxpayers. Werfel noted that the circumstances surrounding door-to-door visits have dramatically changed over the past decade, with an increasing number of reports from IRS employees feeling unsafe during such visits.

Under the new guidelines, the IRS will make initial contact with taxpayers via a mailed letter, commonly referred to as a 725-B, to arrange face-to-face meetings. Werfel is confident that the IRS can efficiently collect revenue without causing unnecessary stress through unanticipated visits.

The policy change is backed by the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents workers at 34 federal agencies, including the IRS. Tony Reardon, the union’s national president, noted the heightened risk IRS employees face due to antagonistic rhetoric and misinformation. Despite the reduction of unannounced visits, Reardon affirmed the revenue officers’ commitment to help taxpayers fulfill their legal tax obligations through alternative communication methods.

While the new policy largely eliminates surprise visits, Werfel noted that there may still be exceptional cases that require them, such as serving summonses and subpoenas or asset seizures. However, these situations are vastly outnumbered by visits made under the previous policy.

Werfel concluded by stating that the practice of unannounced visits, once a common task for revenue officers handling 100,000 cases annually, will now be drastically reduced, although the exact number of these visits conducted each year remains uncertain.