The IRS is one of the most aggressive, powerful and successful collection agencies in the world. A large part of this success is due to the substantial number of tax collection professionals the IRS employs. These IRS tax collectors have various titles, the most common of which is “Revenue Officer.” The IRS maintains field collection offices, staffed with Revenue Officers, throughout the nation. Most states have collection officers posted in multiple local offices.
Generally, Revenue Officers have broad authority to conduct investigations and take all legal action necessary to collect past due taxes. These collection professionals have the right to thoroughly investigate your personal and business affairs. They also have the ability to contact your friends, family, business associates and anyone else who may have information relevant to the collection of your tax liability. Most Revenue Officers will not hesitate to show up at a taxpayer’s home or place of business. Furthermore, Revenue Officers can take any enforced collection action authorized by law. These collection actions may include garnishing wages, levying bank accounts and filing federal tax liens and seizure of assets.
Because of the broad collection authority available to Revenue Officers, it is important to respond to any contact timely, completely and honestly. Although the Revenue Officer is ultimately reasonable for collecting overdue taxes, penalties and interest, they are required to work with taxpayers to find a resolution that preserves the rights of both the government and the individual. Therefore, the law does not allow them to abuse their authority or harass taxpayers. Complaints about abusive Revenue Officers should be directed to the Revenue Officer’s collection manager, the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate or your local congressional representative.
Federal law gives you the right to professional representation before the IRS and its Revenue Officers. If you are concerned about the preservation of your legal rights, you should speak with a tax professional to assist you with your tax collection negotiations.