What Is an IRS Revenue Officer?
An IRS revenue officer is an IRS collections employee whose job it is to collect unpaid taxes and secure overdue returns from delinquent taxpayers.
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What Does a Revenue Officer Do?
In order to do their job, revenue officers take a variety of actions, including:
- Conducting in-person interviews with taxpayers or their representatives
- Obtain and analyze financial information — such as that provided on a Form 433-A — to determine a taxpayer’s ability to pay their unpaid taxes
- Set up installment agreements with taxpayers
- Grant penalty relief when appropriate
- Grant currently not collectible (CNC) status to taxpayers experiencing a hardship
- Garnish taxpayers’ wages to satisfy unpaid tax debt (up to the maximum amount the IRS can garnish from your paycheck)
- Levy taxpayers’ bank accounts to satisfy unpaid tax debt
- Educate taxpayers on their tax return and payment obligations
When Does a Revenue Officer Typically Get Assigned?
The IRS doesn’t assign revenue officers to everybody who owes taxes or has unfiled tax returns.
Revenue officers are typically signed to taxpayers with:
- Individual income tax balances in excess of $250,000
- Payroll tax balances in excess of $25,000
What Happens If the IRS Assigns Me a Revenue Officer?
If you have a revenue officer assigned to your account with the IRS, they will likely attempt to reach out to you either in person or via telephone.
They will also send you a Form 9297 with a list of items they need to make a determination on your case.
Revenue Officers Are Hunting Down Non-Filers!
The IRS is increasingly assigning revenue officers to taxpayers with unfiled tax returns.
One of our newest clients came to us because they received a letter from a revenue officer about their unfiled returns. Here’s what the letter said:
We haven’t received the tax return(s) listed on the next page(s) of this letter. If you have filed, or if you aren’t required to file, please go to the next page and provide the information requested in the space beneath the listed return(s).
Return this letter with the information requested in the enclosed self-addressed envelope. The enclosed copy of this letter is for your records by [date future].
If you haven’t filed the required return(s), attach the signed return(s) to this letter and send them to us with your payment for any tax due.
You will be charged interest on any unpaid tax as provided by law. The law also provides for penalty charges for filing returns late, paying taxes late, and making deposits late, unless there is reasonable cause for delay.
If you believe you have reasonable cause for not filing and paying on time, explain in a separate statement and attach a copy of the statement to each return. It will help us determine whether you can be excused from paying any of the applicable penalties.
If your address as shown above is incorrect, correct it so we can update our records.
If you have any questions or can’t pay the amount due, contact me at the telephone number shown above.
Thank you for your cooperating.
[REVENUE OFFICER NAME]
If you have received a similar letter, here’s what you should do:
- Understand the gravity of the situation and resolve to not just bury your head in the sand. The IRS assigning you a dedicated revenue officer puts you in a new “league” of folks with tax problems. Once you have a revenue officer assigned to your case, that means the IRS has taken special notice of you. The vast majority of Americans with tax issues do not have a specific revenue officer assigned to them; their cases are typically handled by some automated system at the IRS, either the Automated Collections System (ACS) if they’re in collections and all the telephone operatives in ACS or by the Automated Substitute for Return (ASFR) system if they’re a non-filer. And if you’re in one of these automated programs at the IRS, you don’t have one dedicated, experienced IRS officer assigned to your account; but once you have a revenue officer assigned, you do.
- Make contact with the revenue officer — do not ignore their letter. If you want a professional to deal with the revenue officer for you and handle this entire issue for you, do that. Hire us at Choice Tax Relief if you like me. But my point is, whether you’re representing yourself before this revenue officer or if you hire a professional to deal with this issue for you under power of attorney, you need to talk to the revenue officer.
- Prepare those returns the revenue officer is asking for as soon as possible, file them, and give courtesy copies to the revenue officer.
- Now’s the fun part — if you owe a significant amount of money to the IRS in terms of taxes, penalties, and interest upon filing these returns, get into a resolution with the IRS and don’t let your revenue officer boss you around. And this is where you really need to understand the authority that a revenue officer has; after giving you sufficient notice as well as your rights to a Collection Due Process Hearing on Letter 1058, and assuming you don’t file for a CDP Hearing, the revenue officer can forcibly extract money from you, such as from your wages or directly from your bank account. So it’s in your best interest to deal with this issue as soon as possible. So once your balance based on these returns has been assessed, your revenue officer will likely want you to give them a completed Form 433-A; do not provide them with a 433-A unless you know what you’re doing.