For some people, the scariest sight imaginable can involve having an IRS revenue officer show up at their door – which is completely understandable. There are many reasons why one of these agents might pop up and visit your home or office, and none of them fall into the “good news category.” So, what do you if this nightmare becomes your reality? What are your options? Do you speak with them? Do you hand over as much financial information as you have on hand? Or do you call your tax accounting firm and request their presence to represent you in discussions with the IRS? The correct response is clearly the last one. It’s always a good idea to have professional help in these situations in the form of revenue officer representation, especially if you have someone else handle your taxes and other financial information for you.
So, let’s discuss this situation and the possible ramifications in some more detail.
Why The IRS Might Send a Revenue Officer Your Way
When it comes to owing taxes, the IRS will not hesitate to reach out to you. Those who owe small amounts and currently file their taxes simply receive a written notification informing you of your debt. The IRS may seize your tax returns or ask you to contact them to put a payment plan into place to square things up.
However, when you owe a sizable amount of money, a revenue officer or agent may come knocking on your door. These professionals are employed by the IRS, and they want to play hardball, so to speak. Some of the reasons why one might appear at your door include:
- You owe over $25,000 – We stated that when the IRS needs to collect smaller amounts, they simply send a letter. However, if you owe more than $25,000 in back taxes or they believe that you do and you have failed to pay or contact them, then an agent will come pay a visit to your home or business.
- You haven’t filed your tax returns in years – The IRS wants you to file your tax returns. If this is something you’ve been avoiding, for any reason whatsoever, and they believe that you owe them money, a revenue agent will initiate contact when you least expect it.
- You’ve ignored numerous letters and other attempts at contact – Again, smaller amounts will not usually trigger this kind of active response. However, if you ignore the IRS or stop filing your taxes (so they can’t seize your returns), then they’ll use any means necessary to contact you.
- You’ve had IRS issues in the past – If you’ve had some previous compliance issues, such as owing money years ago that the IRS had problems collecting, then they won’t hesitate to send an agent to your door to keep this from happening again. The IRS does not look kindly on repeat offenders.
- Your business owes the IRS money – Although many individuals do get a bit of leeway with the IRS (again, if the amounts are small enough), businesses don’t receive the same treatment. Any company that owes the IRS and hasn’t entered into a payment plan (or followed through with said plan) is under suspicion of having hidden funds in order to avoid paying even more money.
Is It a Revenue Officer or Revenue Agent at Your Door?
There are two different IRS officers that might appear at your door – the individual will be either a revenue officer or a revenue agent. There are some differences between the two, although both have one thing in common: they are employed by the IRS.
Let’s start with the revenue officer. This person is the one in charge of hunting down people who owe the IRS money. They have the ability to seize property, such as your cars, boats, or even house, in order to pay those debts. They can even seize your bank accounts, future paychecks, and more. Basically, they do whatever is required in order to collect the money you owe the federal government. If a revenue officer knocks, then you’ve already been deemed guilty of owing back taxes.
On the other hand, a revenue agent is someone who audits your accounting information. They normally only visit businesses, although if you’re an individual who might have a large amount owed or discrepancies in your tax filings, they may visit you as well.
Either way, the revenue officer or agent will be easily identifiable, thanks to the forms of identification they are required to carry. They will have what’s called a pocket commission, which is an official IRS identification card and badge. They will also have an HSPD-12 card. If the person at your door claims to be from the IRS, but lacks these forms of ID, then they are a fraudulent scammer who is trying to take advantage of you. If this is the case, refrain from disclosing any personal information, do not allow them in your home, and contact the authorities immediately.
What Are Your Options?
The best thing you can do in these situations is to proactively request revenue officer representation. This involves having a professional attorney or accounting professional (or both) speak to the IRS on your behalf. These professionals basically run interference and can prevent the IRS from seizing your property, at least until the matter has been discussed and payment options are presented.
In some cases, the revenue officer will give you a form that you need to fill out. This creates a payment plan of sorts as it lists the amount that the IRS can expect from you each and every month until your debt is satisfied. The form should be filled out by a professional – not you – to ensure that the process is fair and complete, and of course, as much in your favor as possible.
What If You Do Owe Money to the IRS?
Of course, the IRS won’t send an agent to your home or business unless they believe (or are fairly sure) that you owe them money. Avoiding them is not the answer and can lead to liens being placed on your home, forcing you to sell it to pay your taxes. Depending on the size of your tax debt, you can also have your other assets, including your cars, boats, vacation homes, and even bank accounts and future paychecks seized. The only way to avoid this is to work with the IRS to meet their payment terms and satisfy your debt.
Why You Need Professional Assistance
Owing the IRS enough money that they dispatch a revenue officer or revenue agent to speak with you and check your accounting information is no laughing matter. At this point, you need professional guidance and support and should not try to represent yourself. If you provide incorrect information or try to avoid the agent, they won’t hesitate to seize your bank accounts, assets, or property, which in some cases, can be avoided. It’s best to have someone – a professional – work with them for you. In doing so, you receive some protections and will not have to worry about sinking deeper into trouble.
Contact Us for Assistance
The IRS is serious about collecting back taxes; therefore, you must be serious in your handlings of the situation as well. If the IRS has popped up at your door in the form of a revenue agent or officer, you must seek professional representation immediately.
At Enterprise Consultants Group, we help provide revenue officer representation and assist you in your negotiations with the IRS in order to reach a mutually agreed upon settlement and corresponding payment plan. While the IRS does not want to send you to prison for back taxes, their mere presence can feel disconcerting at the very least. Think proactively and seek professional accounting representation before the IRS darkens your door or before providing them with any information.
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