What Is the Difference Between an IRS Revenue Officer and an IRS Revenue Agent?
If you ever have to reach out to the IRS to resolve an issue, then it’s helpful to understand the different types of professionals you might be contacting. The IRS employs revenue officers and revenue agents.
Both types of professionals are responsible for enforcing the federal tax code, and they also play key roles in helping to address problems and resolve issues. Beyond that, however, they play different roles in the organization.
Before you reach out to the IRS, take a few minutes to understand the differences between an IRS revenue officer and an IRS revenue agent. That knowledge can help you determine which type of professional you should contact. Want someone else to talk to the IRS on your behalf? Then, contact us today at the W Tax Group.
What Is an IRS Revenue Officer?
An IRS revenue officer collects taxes from businesses and individuals that the IRS has not been able to reach. Generally, the IRS first attempts to collect taxes with letters and phone calls through its Automated Collection System (ACS). When those efforts fail, IRS revenue officers go to work.
The Role of IRS Revenue Officers
Revenue officers work to quickly collect any outstanding tax debts. Generally, the IRS sends a letter telling you that a revenue officer has been assigned to your case, and then, the officer requests information about your finances so they can identify how you’re going to pay the tax bill.
Helping Taxpayers Set up Payment Plans
However, while revenue officers can force debt repayment, they also have the ability to work with you to help you repay your debts. For example, they can help to design payment plans that give you more time to repay your back taxes.
With a payment plan in place, you’ll have a specified payment amount and dates by which you’ll need to make each payment. A payment plan can help to guide the tax repayment process, so you’re able to successfully pay what you owe.
Additionally, revenue officers may relieve tax penalties for overdue tax bills in some instances. You must request to have the penalties abated, but if it’s a first time offense or if you had reasonable cause for paying late, it’s usually easy to get them removed.
Marking Accounts as Currently Not Collectible
Revenue officers also have the ability to mark your account as uncollectible and (temporarily) suspend the collection of your taxes if you are experiencing financial hardship.
Enforcing Tax Collections
If you’re not willing to work with a revenue officer to create a debt payment plan, the officer can collect your debt in other ways. Revenue officers have the ability to force you to pay your taxes in several ways. They can levy your bank accounts, garnish your wages, file federal tax liens, and even seize your assets like your vehicle or home, to collect your tax debt.
They will contact and interview taxpayers with outstanding tax balances. They also have the right to contact third parties (such as banks, employers, payers, etc) to learn more about your income and assets.
In certain situations, revenue officers also have the ability to file extensions on statutes of limitations surrounding tax collection, meaning you can still be responsible for the tax debt that you thought would eventually expire.
Can Revenue Officers Arrest You?
While a revenue officer might show up at your home or place of employer, these officers don’t carry firearms and can’t arrest you.
How Many Revenue Officers Are There?
According to the IRS, there are currently about 2,300 revenue officers who work across the country.
What Is an IRS Revenue Agent?
An IRS revenue agent doesn’t collect taxes. Instead, revenue agents perform tax audits, and they usually focus on relatively complicated tax returns. Revenue agents may audit individuals, businesses, non-profits, trusts, and estates.
When an agent performs an audit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual or business has filed their taxes incorrectly or even that they owe additional taxes. Instead, audits give the IRS a chance to perform a deeper investigation to confirm that taxes were filed correctly.
If an auditor finds errors, they will correct them, and you might pay more or less taxes as a result of the corrected return. The agent auditing your return may also decide to assess audit penalties if you have made significant errors on your return.
What Happens When an Agent Audits Your Return?
When performing audits, revenue agents review tax returns to ensure that taxpayers have filed accurately and that they have paid the correct taxes. Agents look for discrepancies or errors with income reporting, and they also confirm that you’re receiving the correct tax deductions.
Can Revenue Agents Collect Unpaid Taxes?
Revenue agents can gather the financial documents needed to perform an audit, and they can make adjustments to your return that lead to a tax bill. However, they don’t have the ability to demand money or collect taxes.
Can Revenue Agents Arrest You?
IRS revenue agents are unarmed and tend to come across as less threatening than revenue officers. They cannot arrest you.
Do Revenue Agents Stop by Unannounced?
They will make contact through mail or by phone prior to visiting. Except in some very unique circumstances, the IRS has stopped unannounced visits by IRS employees.
Differences Between Revenue Officers and Revenue Agents
There are some key differences between revenue officers and revenue agents. The first difference is in the type of work that they perform. Revenue agents focus solely on audits and they are not responsible for or able to collect taxes. That responsibility is left up to revenue officers.
It’s also important to note that while revenue officers will work to collect taxes, they don’t perform audits or correct any issues. If you feel that you don’t owe taxes, a revenue agent can help to identify and resolve mistakes, correcting the taxes owed.
There are also some important differences in the scope of the work that each professional can perform. Revenue agents have the ability to help identify and correct tax filing errors. Revenue officers can create payment plans and file extensions. If their other efforts to collect taxes are unsuccessful, revenue officers are also capable of levying bank accounts, garnishing wages, filing federal tax liens, and seizing assets.
Similarities Between IRS Revenue Officers and Revenue Agents
Both IRS revenue officers and revenue agents work to enforce the federal tax code. These professionals are employed by the IRS, and they work in offices all over the country. They may work with both individuals and businesses,
After making initial contact through the mail, both agents and officers may perform visits in person. When performing an in-person visit, these professionals both carry two types of identification, which you can verify when they arrive.
When Should You Get Representation?
You might decide to speak with an IRS revenue officer or agent yourself, but these processes can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Getting representation from a tax attorney like The W Tax Group can be helpful in several ways. Here’s how working with us can help you.
Get Organized and Prepared
Since we provide tax resolution services, we understand just what you need to do to prepare for a visit with an IRS revenue officer or agent. We can help you to collect and prepare your materials so you’re organized and ready for the visit.
Know Your Rights
You have rights as a taxpayer, and we can help to protect those rights as you negotiate with the IRS or undergo the auditing process. We’re here to answer your questions and act in your best interest, so you know you have a knowledgeable team on your side.
Make a Good First Impression
We’re here to help you prepare for your interactions with the IRS. From getting organized to making a positive and professional first impression, we can help ensure those discussions start off well.
Get Help Today
With The W Tax Group on your side, you’ll have help when you need it, whether that’s asking questions or discussing and weighing your potential options. We can save you time in preparing for an audit with an agent or when working with a revenue officer. We can also file forms for you and guide you through the process of solving your tax problems.
If you’re going to speak with an IRS revenue agent or officer soon, or if you’re already having those discussions, we’re here to help. Reach out to the W Tax Group today for your free consultation to find out how we can help with your tax problems.