Have Unfiled Taxes? An IRS Officer May Come to Your Home
The IRS released an information sheet at the end of February detailing several new measures that they’re taking to address the issue of non-filing taxpayers. While the fact sheet outlined several methods, including increased efforts to use data and statistics to pinpoint these non-filers, there is one particular measure that you should be aware of: The IRS will be sending out revenue officers directly to the homes of non-filing citizens regarding their unfiled tax returns. Here’s what you need to know about this new measure, and whether or not you should be concerned about receiving a visit.
Who Will Be Getting a Visit?
While the IRS is concerned with addressing all non-filers, the more aggressive effort of in-person visits will be primarily focused on high-income individuals with unfiled tax returns from 2018 or earlier years. So, if you’re a high-income earner and you have unfiled returns from earlier tax years, you may very well be receiving a visit from a revenue officer, if you haven’t received one already.
If your 2019 tax return is still unfiled, you most likely do not have to worry about this. The same applies if you have a lower income. While you will likely receive communications from the IRS about unfiled returns, it is not likely that you’ll get an in-person visit about it.
How Do You Know They’re an RO?
Naturally, you may feel some concern at the idea of a person knocking on your door and asking you to pay them. Most people are well aware that tax scams flourish at this time of year, and while they primarily happen over the phone or email, this new approach from the IRS does open up new opportunities for scammers to try to take advantage of tax payers. The best way to combat this is by knowing how to recognize a legitimate revenue officer, and the IRS has provided some tips to help you do so:
1. Ask for credentials. Every revenue officer sent by the IRS must have two sets of credentials on them. Both of these should include a serial number (and those numbers should match one another) and a photo of the revenue officer. You have a right to ask to see both forms of identification; if the individual refuses to show you credentials, or they only show you one, then they’re not from the IRS and you should close the door.
2. You should know about the debt. Visits from an IRS revenue officer will not be scheduled, so you shouldn’t dismiss them simply because you weren’t called about an impending visit. However, you should have received written communication about your unfiled taxes and tax debt in the past. You will have received several mailers prior to an in-person visit. So, if this is the first you’re hearing about those unfiled taxes (and especially if you’re confident you’ve filed and paid all your taxes before), then the person at your door is not an IRS officer.
3. You will not be threatened. A revenue officer will inform you have your tax obligations and inform you of possible repercussions for failing to settle your tax debt and file your taxes. However, they will not threaten you with criminal action. If you feel you are being threatened by the person claiming to be a revenue officer, odds are high that they’re not who they claim to be.
4. They’ll offer multiple payment options. Yes, an IRS officer will ask you for payment on your existing tax debt, so don’t dismiss someone out of hand for this alone. The differentiating factor here will be in what kind of payment option and how many options they provide for you. If the person is asking for an unusual form of payment or a personal form of payment to them, then they’re likely trying to pull a scam. However, if the individual offers multiple payment options, including a check made out to the U.S. Treasury, then they’re likely a revenue officer.
By being informed and asking the right questions, you should be able to easily differentiate between a scam and an IRS revenue officer.
What to Do about Unfiled Taxes
If you have unfiled taxes—and especially if you fall into the criteria described above—it’s extremely important that you take steps to settle your tax debt and file your past returns as soon as possible. It is always better to take the initiative, rather than waiting for an RO to knock on your door. If you have unfiled returns and need to reconcile the issue, we can help. Contact our expert tax preparers today, and we’ll help you to file those past returns and discuss your options for IRS payment plans if necessary. Don’t wait! Contact us today so you can avoid an unpleasant face-to-face visit with an IRS employee.
Camputaro and Associates
Certified Public Accounting Firm
136 N. Orchard Street, Suite 8
Ormond Beach, FL 32174