IRS ends unannounced revenue officer visits to taxpayers – IR-2023-133, July 24, 2023


The IRS announced a major policy change that will end most unannounced visits to taxpayers by agency revenue officers to reduce public confusion and enhance overall safety measures for taxpayers and employees. Effective immediately, unannounced visits will end except in a few unique circumstances and will be replaced with mailed letters to schedule meetings.

The change reverses a decades-long practice by IRS revenue officers, the unarmed agency employees whose duties include visiting households and businesses to help taxpayers resolve their account balances by collecting unpaid taxes and unfiled tax returns.

Taxpayers can expect appointment letters

In place of the unannounced visits, revenue officers will instead make contact with taxpayers through an appointment letter, known as a 725-B, and schedule a follow-up meeting.

limited situations where unannounced visits will occur

There will still be extremely limited situations where unannounced visits will occur, including service of summonses and subpoenas; and also sensitive enforcement activities involving seizure of assets, especially those at risk of being placed beyond the reach of the government. These types of situations typically number less than a few hundred each year – a small fraction compared to the tens of thousands of unannounced visits that typically occurred annually under the old policy.

What is a Revenue Officer?

IRS Revenue Officers are unarmed civil agency employees whose duties include visiting households and businesses to help taxpayers resolve their account balances. Their job is to collect delinquent taxes that have not been paid to the IRS and to secure tax returns that are overdue from taxpayers. The IRS currently has about 2,300 Revenue Officers working cases across the country.

Revenue Officers educate taxpayers on their tax filing and paying obligations and provide guidance and service on a wide range of financial issues to help the taxpayer resolve their tax issues. They also ensure taxpayers are aware of their rights under the law and provide them with quality customer service.

How Revenue Officers work

Revenue Officers conduct scheduled interviews with taxpayers and/or their representatives face-to-face or by telephone if appropriate, as part of the process of collecting delinquent taxes and securing delinquent tax returns.

Through interviews and research, the ROs obtain and analyze financial information to determine individual or business taxpayer’s ability to pay their tax bill.

If a taxpayer cannot pay the debt in full, ROs consider alternative means of resolving tax debt issues and provide taxpayers with resources that can help, including:

  • Setting up payment agreements that allow the taxpayer to pay the bill over time
  • When appropriate, granting relief from penalties imposed when the tax bill is overdue
  • Suspending collection of accounts due to financial hardship

The IRS makes every attempt to come to an agreement with the taxpayer. When this is not possible, other enforcement actions may be taken.

Difference between Revenue Officers and other IRS officials

IRS employuee positions may sound similar to the public, but they have very different, important jobs interacting with taxpayers. In addition to Revenue Officers, revenue agents and IRS-Criminal Investigation special agents may also meet with taxpayers at their homes or businesses, but for different purposes.

Revenue Agents are unarmed, civil agency employees who are skilled auditors and typically conduct in-person field audits. These audits are normally scheduled at the taxpayer’s home, place of business or accountant’s office where the organization’s financial books and records are located.

Revenue Agents will make contact via mail or phone prior to any visit, except in unique, specific circumstances.

Confirming if it’s an RO or an RA

Revenue Officers and Revenue Agents are unarmed and carry two forms of official credentials with a serial number and their photo. Taxpayers have the right to see each of these credentials and can also request an additional method to verify their identification.

Remember, taxpayers would ususally know they have a tax issue before these visits occur since multiple mailings occur.

IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agents are law enforcement federal agents who have the sole authority to investigate potential criminal violations of our nation’s Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes. They do not work civil tax cases and are part of the IRS Criminal Investigation division, or IRS-CI.

IRS-CI’s investigative jurisdiction includes tax, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws. Because of the expertise required to conduct these complex financial investigations, IRS Special Agents are considered the premier financial investigators for the federal government.

IRS-CI Special Agents are the only armed IRS personnel and always present their law enforcement credentials when conducting investigations. There are about 2,100 IRS-CI Special Agents in the United States and abroad.