How to Deal With Revenue Officers

Your assets are at risk due to tax liability, and you’re expecting a Revenue Officer (RO), the highest level of IRS collection agent, to come knocking at your door. Primarily, understand that the IRS appoints an officer to your case with the ability to issues levies and wage garnishments, seize and repossess assets, and freeze and collect financial assets, all to apply to your tax debt. Here’s what to know about their procedures and how to handle their presence.

The Nature of the Collection Process When an RO is Involved

Many confuse Revenue Agents with Revenue Officers; you will most likely be assigned to an agent, unless you’ve committed a serious crime. Revenue officers carry guns, while revenue agents don’t, with limited authority. Regardless which you come up against, they are vigilant and strategic.

As soon as you know the collection process of your debt has reached this point, you should contact a tax professional to assist you in filling out forms correctly and discuss your financial situation with the RO and potentially obtain an extension for you. The IRS can and will use any information against you, and this should not be taken lightly.

RAs and ROs are known for unannounced visits (more on this below), but most likely occurring on Fridays and/or before holiday weekends. They come with the intention to examine your home, lifestyle, and belongings, or business is if your tax debt is tied to payroll. Also expect calls and mail correspondence, before and after the visit. If you do not comply or respond, the agent or officer may summon you to an IRS office.

At the same time, the IRS will continue to contact you, seeking resolution to have your debt collected in full. They may ask for financial information to determine the collectability of your financial situation. The IRS does this by sending Form 9397, which contains 433-A if you’re debt is as an individual, or Form 433-B, if it is concerning your business, all of which have strict deadlines.

How to Handle an RO Visit

Before a visit takes places, contact a tax professional, or immediately after. If and when an RO arrives at your door, adopt a polite demeanor and be prepared to have a short, to-the-point conversation. Although ROs are intimidating, you are under no obligation to answer their questions and often, you won’t know the answers. Likewise, the officer/agent does not have the right to enter your residence. Simply tell them you will contact whomever you appoint as your power of attorney and you will be back shortly. This is the point you call a tax professional or lawyer – the RO may oblige and speak to them then and there. In the case that you are unable to contact a professional, explain that you are in the process of getting representation, taking down their name, ID, and the details pertaining to your case.

This approach is essential because the wrong information can be extremely damaging to your finances and property. It is important to withhold any and all information asked of you.

The officer/agent has the mindset of collecting your debt by whatever means necessary; this means being very friendly, and attempting to lure you into comfort to share your personal information. You will not anger IRS employees or worsen your situation by hiring a professional; it is absolutely appropriate, necessary, and within your right.

Keep this in mind, but also comply with what is asked of you on a reasonable level, and make your intentions to take care of your debt apparent. Just like tax debt, an RO will not simply go away, so do not plan on avoiding the confrontation. Stay calm, be cordial, and contact a tax professional immediately, and you are more likely to settle your debt painlessly, and through an affordable payment plan.

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