By: Eric R. Elmore
There’s a knock at the door. It’s not your Aunt Rosie, it’s not your poker buds and it’s not Junior who forgot his key. It’s the IRS…unannounced! Yes, this is now a possibility. The IRS recently promulgated a policy for visiting certain taxpayers without prior notice. Sound scary? It could be; read on for the details.
First, a visit will occur only if you have an ongoing issue with the IRS, such as unfiled returns or significant taxes owed. Further, the visits will typically occur after the issue(s) has not been resolved through many attempts to contact you via mail. Visits will be focused in communities where there are a limited number of revenue officers available due to declining IRS resources and will occur only during specific times (the times have not yet been announced). However, the first visit from a revenue officer will almost always be unannounced, so be aware.
Now, scams are always something to be vigilant about, and though most IRS scams do not occur at your front door, it is a possibility—especially given this announcement. The IRS has addressed this in the announcement of the visits and has given a heads-up on what to look for.
When an IRS revenue officer visits your home or business, they will always provide two forms of official credentials, both include a serial number and photo of the IRS employee. You have the right to see each credential. During their visit, the officer may request payment for the taxes you may owe, but will give you legitimate payment options, such as payment via check payable to the “United States Treasury” or an installment agreement. The officer will not make threats or demand unusual forms of payment (i.e., gift cards, prepaid debit cards, etc.) on the spot. More information about identifying IRS officers and reporting scams are here.
For those represented by a tax advisor or legal counsel concerning your tax matter, there are a few steps we recommend to avoid exchanging misinformation or fostering adverse outcomes. Consider not speaking to any IRS officer except to politely state you prefer to consult with your representative accountant/tax advisor first. Then immediately contact your tax advisor and decide on next steps.
Whether through your tax advisor or on your own, establishing contact with the IRS and arranging compliance before the visits is always the best practice. IRS visits to your home or business can be stressful and embarrassing. If you have a significant unresolved tax issue and are not represented by an advisor, call on The Tax Warriors® at Drucker & Scaccetti. We are always prepared to help.