IRS New policy: The IRS has stopped surprise visits to homes and businesses. Political backlash and increased IRS employee threats are reducing this decades-old policy.
The IRS is modernizing technology, tax code enforcement, and customer service with a multibillion-dollar project. It also comes at a time when Republicans and taxpayers are criticizing the tax collection agency’s aggressive tactics and political bias.
“We are taking a fresh look at how the IRS operates to better serve taxpayers and the nation, and making this change is a common-sense step,” said IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel. He stressed that this transformation is part of the agency’s efforts to better use resources and interact with taxpayers. Werfel also wants to end IRS agents’ door-to-door tax collection image.
The IRS is trying to treat taxpayers better. The agency’s plans to hire many agents to target small businesses and the middle class have caused problems. Social media misinformation has led to threats against IRS agents, making their work more dangerous.
Unannounced visits will only be allowed in “unique” cases and replaced by mailed letters to schedule meetings. In-person visits were used to collect tax debts over $100,000 and show the agency’s close monitoring of taxpayers. Ignoring IRS letters could result in penalties or property liens.
In the future, the IRS will limit unannounced visits to cases involving summonses, subpoenas, or asset seizures.
The decision applies only to unarmed revenue officers who visit unannounced to discuss taxes or missing returns. The policy change will not affect armed IRS criminal investigation agents who visit homes and businesses.
Republicans have opposed the Biden administration’s plans to boost the IRS with $80 billion from last year’s Inflation Reduction Act. The debt limit legislation cut the agency’s funding by $1.4 billion, and the final budget agreement is expected to cut $20 billion more.
Lawmakers and anti-tax groups have raised concerns about unannounced IRS visits, citing overreach and errors. Taxpayers and revenue officers are stressed by IRS impersonators, so unannounced visits are stopped.
The new policy is expected to address Congress members’ concerns about unannounced visits and be welcomed by IRS employees, who have expressed growing safety concerns. The move protects IRS workers from inflammatory rhetoric.