Form 9297: Summary of Taxpayer Contact
IRS revenue officers use Form 9297 to collect financial information from taxpayers. The IRS uses the details on this form to figure out if you have the means to pay off your tax debt. The form itself is relatively straightforward, but to protect your income and assets, you may want to reach out to a tax professional before completing this form.
Our tax attorneys can help you understand your options and figure out the best way to pay off your liability. To get help now, contact us at the W Tax Group today. We can answer your questions about this form and guide you to the best options for your situation.
What Does Form 9297 Mean?
Form 9297 means that the IRS wants information about your financial situation. The IRS revenue officer assigned to your case uses this information to calculate or verify your ability to pay your tax liability.
The IRS sends Form 9297 when it’s getting serious about collecting your tax liability. If you receive this form, you’re not dealing with automated collection notices anymore. A real person called a revenue office is looking at your situation, and they will find a way to resolve the case, whether you cooperate or not.
This form is called a summary of taxpayer contact because it summarizes the information that the revenue officer collects from you. Typically, the revenue officer will mail you this form to fill out on your own, but in some cases, they may call you and ask questions over the phone based on this form. If they want to meet in person, they will send a 725-B rather than showing up unannounced.
Keep in mind that whether you’re dealing with mail or phone calls, you always have the right to legal representation in front of the IRS.
What Is a Revenue Officer?
A revenue officer is an IRS employee who collects delinquent taxes and secures overdue tax returns from taxpayers. They analyze financial information to see if a taxpayer can afford to pay their tax bill, and they work with taxpayers to set up payment plans. They also have the right to forcibly collect tax debts through federal tax liens, wage garnishments, and asset levies. They may even be able to take your home.
How to Respond to Form 9297
IRS Form 9297 outlines the information that you need to provide to the IRS. Typically, it requests Form 433-A (Collection Information Statement) as well as the following:
- Most recent pay stub.
- Proof of all other income sources including spousal support, child support, pensions, Social Security benefits, self-employment income, or rental income.
- 12 months of statements from bank accounts.
- A list of retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, and other investments.
- Copies of all vehicle registrations including RVs, motorcycles, etc.
- The last three months of out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Mortgage statements for all properties.
- Proof of last payment on all mortgages.
- Copies of most recent utility and phone bills.
- Verification that you’ve made estimated quarterly tax payments as required.
To respond to Form 9297, you simply need to send this information to the IRS. You must respond promptly by the date noted on the letter, or the IRS may pursue collection actions (liens, levies, garnishments, etc) against you.
Keep in mind, however, that the IRS will use this information to decide how to collect your tax debt. For instance, if the agency sees that you have a lot of assets, it may demand payment in full and expect you to sell your assets.
You should never lie to the IRS — hiding assets when the IRS requests information is considered tax evasion. However, you may want to reach out to a tax attorney before you respond to this notice so we can advise you on the best way to proceed.
Why Was a Revenue Officer Assigned to My Case?
The IRS usually only assigns revenue officers in the following situations:
- You have several years of unfiled tax returns.
- You have had repeated tax compliance issues.
- The tax liability is high– the exact amount of tax debt varies, but generally, you won’t have an IRS revenue officer assigned to your case until your liability is at least $25,000.
- You have failed to respond to the revenue officer over the phone.
- A business owes taxes such as payroll taxes or the trust fund recovery penalty.
Having a revenue officer assigned to your case means that the IRS is serious about collecting your tax debt. The revenue officer’s job is to determine how to collect the tax liability. This can involve learning about your assets using Form 9297 and then, issuing tax liens or levies against those assets.
What Happens When the IRS Assigns a Revenue Officer to My Case?
A revenue officer is legally permitted to start enforced collection actions against you, including the following:
If they believe that you have committed tax fraud or evasion, the revenue officer can also initiate an investigation. Once the IRS assigns a revenue officer to your case, you can no longer ignore your tax issue. Things can get very serious, very quickly. To protect yourself, you should reach out to a tax attorney.
Revenue Officer Versus ACS
When you get behind on your taxes, the IRS can assign your case to a revenue officer or a group of employees in the Automated Collection System (ACS). Here are the differences between the two.
When your case is assigned to a revenue officer, they are personally responsible for resolving the case. As a result, cases tend to get resolved faster when they are assigned to an officer. To put it another way, the revenue officer will be diligent about contacting you, setting up arrangements to take care of the tax debt, or pursuing collection actions against you.
Automated Collection System
In contrast, when your case gets assigned to ACS, a number of employees work on your case. They are less likely to call you or help you set up payment plans, offers in compromise, or other collection alternatives. If they can’t resolve your case, they usually just pass it off to the next employee in the queue.
To break it down, you may be able to fly under the radar if the IRS assigns your case to the ACS. You won’t be able to ignore the situation if a revenue officer is working your case.
In some cases, however, working with a revenue officer can be easier than dealing with the automated system. The revenue officer is personally assigned to your case. They have reviewed the situation, and they may be able to help you find a resolution option.
If your account is in the ACS, the people you call won’t be intimately familiar with your case. As a result, they may provide you with incorrect information, or they may not be able to help you identify the best resolution option for your situation. A tax attorney can be invaluable in both of these scenarios.
When to Talk to a Tax Lawyer About 9297 IRS Form
If you receive IRS form 9297, you should reach out to a tax attorney in the following situations:
- You don’t know why you received this notice.
- You can’t afford to pay the tax liability in full.
- You don’t agree with the tax due shown on the notice.
- You believe the tax due is exclusively the fault of your spouse, ex-spouse, or late spouse.
- You want help requesting relief from penalties.
- You’re worried about the IRS issuing a federal tax lien, garnishing your wages, levying your bank accounts, or seizing your assets.
- You have had compliance issues in the past, and you don’t qualify for a payment plan.
- You’re tired of dealing with the IRS, and you want a tax attorney to advocate for you.
- You have questions about your taxpayer rights.
When to Respond to Form 9297 on Your Own
In some cases, you may be completely comfortable responding to Form 9297 on your own. For instance, if you owe less than $25,000 and you agree with the tax liability, you may just want to set up a payment plan.
It’s fine to take a DIY approach to tax resolution if you’re comfortable doing so. However, an attorney can be critical if you want to reduce penalties, apply for a tax relief program such as an offer in compromise, or appeal an incorrect assessment.
Also, keep in mind that revenue officers work for the IRS. Their first priority is collecting the tax for their boss (the IRS). A tax attorney, in contrast, works for you. Their first priority is to get you out of tax debt as inexpensively and as painlessly as possible.
Get Help With Form 9297
You don’t have to deal with the IRS on your own. A tax attorney can help you deal with the IRS, and they can direct you toward the best options for your unique situation.
To learn more, contact us at The W Tax Group for a free consultation. We’ll start with a conversation about your tax situation. Then, we’ll outline how we can help you and what to expect if you decide to work with us.
Don’t let the IRS take your assets or use other extreme measures to collect your tax debt. Instead, get help today.