Does the IRS Come to Your House?
The short answer is, yes they do. What do you do when an IRS employee shows up at your door? If you owe the IRS Back Taxes, then that’s a question worth investigating a bit further.
So, if you find yourself in that particular situation, do not say anything. Tell them you want to talk to an attorney and that’s the end of the discussion.
As a Tax Attorney, I know the steps you need to take if and when the IRS shows up at your home or place of work. Before I share what those steps are I first need to define a couple of different types of IRS employees so that you know exactly what I’m talking about.
How to Identify a Revenue Officer
A Revenue Officer has certain limited powers. They’re not law enforcement officers, and they don’t carry a badge or a gun. They typically take what’s called a pocket commission. It’s a plastic ID badge of sorts, and they are not authorized to carry firearms.
What Does a Revenue Officer Do?
Typically, revenue officers’ jobs are to go out and collect money from delinquent taxpayers. Revenue officers tend to collect on larger cases rather than smaller cases, although I have dealt with revenue officers on cases below $5000. They have an emphasis on collecting payroll tax cases as opposed to income tax cases. But I have dealt with the revenue officers dealing with income tax matters on a significant number of occasions.
You need to know that a Revenue Officer is not entitled to enter your residence providing that you don’t have a public area in your residence, and I can’t really think of any public areas in residences off the top of our head – but they’re not entitled to come into your residence, absent a search warrant or a court order of some kind. If they have those particular items, they’re going to be usually accompanied by local law enforcement, and so there will be no doubt there.
I will encourage you if you’re dealing with a Revenue Officer to not engage them in protracted conversation. I think that you should be polite and you should be civil and that you should indicate that you have a Power of Attorney or you will be getting a representation of some sort to help deal with this problem.
Quick Video: What to Do If an IRS Employee Comes To Your House
Now, often, the revenue officer will decide that the best way that they’re going to be able to deal with your particular matter is to show up at your place of business or your residence as the first point of contact.
What if a Revenue Officer Shows Up at Your Place of Business?
If a Revenue Officer shows up at your place of business, they can only enter those public areas of your establishment. So in our office, if you were to visit, what there is is you open the front door, and there is a minuscule lobby area, and then there is another doorway, and there is a window. Now, of course, they can’t climb through the window, but they also can’t pass that door because that’s the limit of that public area. In a restaurant, I would suggest that this field is the dining room, it wouldn’t be the kitchen, for example, it wouldn’t be the back offices unless the public has an open invitation to enter those areas.
That’s what you do if you are dealing with a Revenue Officer or an IRS special agent and they appear at your place of residence or your building.
What Does The Revenue Officer Look For?
It makes a tremendous impression on the taxpayers, I’m sure you can attest, but it tends to get the ball rolling. Many Revenue Officers will like to kind of barge their way into your residence because what are they looking for? They’re seeking to see what kind of stuff you have and what kind of lifestyle you live.
A revenue officer wants to pin you down on day one, and they want you to get to answer certain questions right then and there. These issues are rather complicated in some cases. They are issues that you probably don’t know the answers to right off the top of your head. I think that if you are contacted by a Revenue Officer, you should contact a tax professional immediately so that he can get the help that you need.
What is an IRS Special Agent?
There is another type of IRS employee called an IRS Special Agent. Those folks tend to investigate tax offenses, tax crimes. These folks tend to travel in pairs. They carry gold badges, and they also carry guns. If these folks show up at your place of residence or your business, you don’t want to talk to them under any circumstances. Look, there is nothing you can say to change their minds. You’re going downtown, no matter what. So, do yourself a favor, shut your mouth and get on with it.
I can’t tell you in our previous career as a criminal defense attorney how many cases – hundreds of cases – that I’ve had where if the client, the defendant had just kept their mouth shut, there was no case. Period. End of discussion.