IRS Collections Step Six – Your Case is Assigned to the Field to be Handled by a Revenue Officer
When telephonic contact fails and the efforts of ACS are not fruitful and if your case meets a certain collection priority (usually based on the amount due or estimated due by the IRS), then you will be referred by ACS to the field where a local IRS office will assign you to a revenue officer. Revenue officer assignments are based geographically on the IRS office that is closest to the taxpayer. These offices contain collection personnel, who handle collection efforts at the local level.
Revenue officers are highly skilled collection agents within the IRS that resolve accounts the IRS feels are a collection priority. Most revenue officers have some sort of financial background or previous collections experience. In contrast to ACS, they have less cases assigned to them and can provide more individualized attention to the accounts they are charged with collecting on. Because they are based locally, revenue officers have more collection techniques at their disposal. They can contact you at your home or place of business, access DMV records or investigate other local sources, and even contact third parties in an attempt to get ahold of you such as family members and neighbors. If you own a business which owes money to the government, Revenue Officers often conduct “site visits” where they will make surprise visits in order to size up what assets the business has and to get more information out of owners and employees.
In addition, revenue officers have the power to issue summons to the taxpayer and third parties, such as banks or other financial institutions. They can demand that the taxpayer show up to their office at a designated time with records in hand. Refusing to respond to a revenue officer summons is a very serious matter. If the revenue officer choses, they can get IRS district counsel involved who will get a court order to force you to comply with the summons.
If your account has gotten to the point where a revenue officer is involved, then you are at the highest level within the IRS for collections until district counsel gets involved and initiates legal action against you and/or your property. Some revenue officers are very senior and only become involved in extremely large balance due cases or those that have an immediate priority (ex. taxpayer thought to be fleeing the country or moving assets). Revenue officers come in all shapes and sizes though. Many are quite pleasant to work with and I enjoy working with. Others can be extremely…challenging. Be very careful in dealing with them.
Because of the seriousness of almost all revenue officer matters, I have developed other several strategies over the course of my practice to help you deal with revenue officers and achieve workable resolutions. Those strategies can be found here.