Why Some People Are Getting Surprise Visits from the IRS

Businessman using door knockerIf you haven’t yet heard, the IRS is now performing in-person visits with certain individuals. This new tactic, announced by the IRS in an information release, has many people wondering if they should expect a revenue officer to come knocking at their door. The good news is that this new tactic is focused primarily on high-income individuals with unfiled returns prior to 2018, so the scope is rather narrow. If you fall into this window, however, here’s what you need to know.

What Happens at These Visits?

Visits from a revenue officer will be unscheduled, so you shouldn’t expect any notice from the IRS about an impending visit. When the IRS officer comes to your door, they will inform you of your unfiled returns and unpaid taxes and will tell you what options are available for you to settle your tax debts. It is perfectly normal for them to ask you for payment; they should offer you many payment options, including a check made payable to the U.S. Treasury.

Here’s what will not happen: A revenue officer will not bully or threaten you, and they will never ask for unusual or personalized forms of payment. This should not be the first you’re hearing of this debt or unfiled return either. You will receive numerous written notices from the IRS before an RO comes to your door. They should also be willing to produce two forms of credentials to prove their identity and status as an IRS officer. If they refuse to do so, they are likely not who they claim to be.

The IRS is aware that this new tactic may produce new attempts to scam taxpayers. The best defense you can make against these efforts is to know how to identify a true revenue officer by using the information provided above.

Again, this new tactic will be focused on high-income earners with unfiled returns from the 2018 tax year or earlier. The IRS will be employing numerous new in-house tactics to pinpoint these individuals, so “mistaken” visits are unlikely to occur. If you do not fall into this category (and especially if you’re confident that you’ve filed your past returns), then you should not be receiving a visit from the IRS.

Delinquent Return Refund Hold Program

The fact sheet the IRS released in February also included information about a new program called the Delinquent Return Refund Hold (DRRH) Program. This program will likely impact a much large sample of the taxpayer population than the in-person visits will. With this program in place, the IRS can now withhold any refunds you may be due if you have unfiled tax returns. They will continue to hold the refund until your taxes are filed and any past-due amounts are paid.

If you’re expecting a refund for your 2019 tax return and haven’t seen it yet, it may be worth looking back at past tax years and ensuring that all of your previous returns have been filed. If they haven’t been, you need to file them as quickly as possible if you hope to receive your refund from the IRS. We understand that failing to receive a tax refund can be devastating for some individuals who are relying on those funds to pay certain bills. This makes it even more essential that you file your late returns as soon as possible, so you don’t find yourself in an unexpected and painful financial pinch.

Note that this will primarily impact federal returns, though there are certain states where the state refund can be withheld as well. So, if you received your state refund and not your federal refund, it could still be as a result of the DRRH Program.

Don’t Wait to File Past-Due Returns

When it comes to the IRS, being proactive is always your best course of action. Don’t wait for a visit from an IRS revenue officer, or for your refund to be withheld, to file your past-due tax returns. While filing late returns can be complicated, our tax experts can help.

Give us a call today, and we’ll not only help you to fill out your past returns, but we’ll discuss what you should expect in terms of late fees and accrued interest, as well as inform you of what options are available to you for IRS payment plans, if necessary. Give us a call today, and we’ll help you to get those unfiled returns taken care of as quickly as possible.