New IRS Policy Limits Use Of Unannounced Home Visits

Many Americans have complained for years about the heavy-handed tactics employed by agents of the Internal Revenue Service.

When President Joe Biden advanced his plan to add roughly 87,000 more agents, effectively doubling the staff, criticism became even more pronounced.

Now, the tax-collecting agency is taking one step meant to assuage some of the public’s fears. In a statement on Monday, the IRS confirmed that it would no longer conduct unannounced visits to residences and businesses with unpaid tax debts — at least in most cases.

This is a departure from the door-to-door inspections agents previously carried out in a range of circumstances and such visits will now be reserved for only high-priority cases involving issues like asset seizure or subpoenas.

“We are taking a fresh look at how the IRS operates to better serve taxpayers and the nation, and making this change is a common-sense step,” explained IRS Commissioner Dany Werfel.

Last year alone, agents conducted tens of thousands of these unannounced inspections. Only a few hundred of those would have qualified for the new parameters set by the IRS.

Instead of receiving an in-person visit, the vast majority of individuals with unpaid or unfiled taxes will be sent a letter instructing them to set up an appointment to meet with an agent.

Not only is this new policy meant to address the potential for fraud by individuals portraying themselves as IRS agents, but it is also being billed as a way to protect the safety of agency personnel while reducing stress for taxpayers.

“These visits created extra anxiety for taxpayers already wary of potential scam artists,” Werfel said. “At the same time, the uncertainty around what IRS agents faced when visiting these homes created stress for them as well. This is the right thing to do and the right time to end it.”

In those rare cases that an unannounced visit is deemed necessary, the agency indicated that IRS officers will be carrying two forms of authorized identification including a photograph and serial numbers in order to prove that they are who they claim to be.

As Werfel concluded: “The only losers with this change in policy are scammers posing as the IRS.”