IRS Stops Unannounced Visits to Taxpayers' Homes and Businesses
For decades IRS revenue officers paid unannounced visits to taxpayers' homes and businesses to talk about unfiled returns and unpaid taxes, but this is no longer happening. As of July 24, 2023, the agency has stopped this practice. Now, if an officer wants to meet you in person, they will send a 725-B appointment letter to request a meeting.
This new decision reverses a decades-long tradition of IRS officers knocking on doors or going into people's businesses when they wanted a fast resolution. Note that this announcement only applies to the IRS. State tax agencies may still continue to pay unexpected visits to your home or office. Keep reading for more details on the new policy.
Why Did the IRS Quit Making Housecalls?
The IRS stopped making households to improve safety for IRS employees and taxpayers and to reduce confusion.
Unfortunately, scam artists go to people's homes pretending to be IRS agents, and thus, when real IRS employees knocked on the door, taxpayers often didn't believe that they worked for the IRS. By stopping house calls, the IRS hopes to eliminate confusion for taxpayers in these situations.
Additionally, the IRS stopped doing unannounced house calls for the safety of its employees. According to Tony Reardon, National Present of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), "This decision will help protect those whose jobs have only grown more dangerous in recent years because of false, inflammatory rhetoric about the agency and its workforce."
How Does the IRS Setup Face-to-Face Meetings Now?
Rather than just coming to your house or business, the IRS will send letters requesting face-to-face meetings. In particular, if a revenue officer wants to meet with you face-to-face, they will send you letter 725-B. This is an appointment request.
You need to respond by the date written on the notice. If you ignore this letter, the IRS revenue officer will move forward with collection actions. When it comes to unpaid taxes, the IRS has the tools to collect the funds if you aren't willing to cooperate. However, the process will be less expensive and less painful if you deal with the situation voluntarily.
Changes to the Tax Collection Process
This announcement reflects numerous changes that the agency has made to the collection process after receiving additional funding under the Inflation Reduction Act. The funding lasts for 10 years, and in April 2023, the IRS announced its Strategic Operating Plan which outlines how the funds are going to change the agency's practices.
In particular, the IRS plans to use the funds to improve services for taxpayers, make the tax compliance process more fair, and implement new technology. The IRS plans to devote a significant portion of the extra funds to collection efforts. In other words, the agency wants to budget more resources for collecting unpaid taxes and dealing with unfiled returns.
In particular, the agency plans to leverage improved analytics to boost compliance. It will also continue to use enforced collection actions such as wage garnishments, bank levies, and asset seizures. IRS Commissioner Danny Wefel said, "We have the tools we need to successfully collect revenue without adding stress with unannounced visits."
Will the IRS Ever Make Unannounced Visits?
In very, very limited cases, the IRS will still make unannounced house calls. IRS officers may go to people's houses to serve summons and subpoenas or to deal with seizing assets that are at risk of being transferred or moved out of the reach of the government.
However, this will only happen a couple of hundred times per year. In the past, the IRS used to make tens of thousands of unannounced house calls per year.
What if Someone Comes to My House and Says They're From the IRS?
If someone comes to your home or office and says they are from the IRS, they are a scam artist. The IRS does not make unexpected visits to people's homes. Scam artists, however, like to leverage people's fear of the IRS to trick them into giving them money or information.
Here's an example. A scammer might come to your home and say that they are from the IRS. Then, they may make threats such as saying that you will go to jail for unpaid taxes. Finally, they will demand money. They may ask for a check written out to themselves or a fake company. Or they may request unusual payment methods such as gift cards or wire transfers.
If someone comes to your door pretending to be from the IRS, don't engage with them. Call the police and report the scam to the IRS.
As indicated above, the IRS only comes to people's doors unexpectedly in very rare cases, such as when they are serving a summons or subpoena. This is extremely rare, and it only affects a very very small handful of people every year. If you're in this type of legal situation with the IRS, you should contact a tax attorney.
Get Help With Unpaid Taxes and Unfiled Returns
The end of unexpected IRS visits doesn't mean that you can ignore your tax debt. In fact, it's just the opposite. The IRS plans to double down on tax collection efforts, and in particular, the agency is focusing on high-income taxpayers and businesses.
To get help now, contact a tax professional. Using TaxCure, you can look for tax pros in your area who have experience with your particular concern. Don't let the stress of unpaid taxes overwhelm you — with the right help, you can get a resolution.