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The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
The Tax Practice of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law


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The Revenue Officers are Coming…

Posted on in IRS

Chicago tax attorney IRSLate this past Friday afternoon, I received a disturbing telephone call from a long-time client. There were two IRS Revenue Officers at his home, wanting to talk to him about his delinquent tax liabilities.

I was incensed. Why was I not contacted? I have a valid power of attorney on file, and had not previously been contacted by these officers, or anyone else from the IRS regarding this.

I insisted on speaking with one of the agents, who was relatively cordial (according to my client, his menacing attitude changed dramatically after he told him he was calling his lawyer). The Revenue Officer’s explanation? I needed to update my power of attorney, “to cover through 2020 or 2025.” What?

I happen to know that this client had no unpaid tax liability for the most recent filed year. That was, simply put, some hot bullcrap.

Earlier last week, I was myself visited by two Revenue Officers at my office regarding a client – completely unannounced, drop-in. I spoke to them briefly, and strongly suggested that next time they should make an appointment with me, and I would be more than happy to discuss these matters with them for as long as they needed my attention. That’s my job.

So, here’s my takeaway from these incidents, after Internal Revenue Manual review, and some follow up with the local Taxpayer Advocate Office:

  1. Yes, IRS Revenue Officers may show up unannounced at a representative’s office, or at an unrepresented taxpayer’s residence or business, in an attempt to interview and collect financial information for or from a taxpayer with delinquent liabilities. And in fact, this practice is now encouraged and how it’s being done. It is, in my opinion, inefficient, disrespectful, and intentionally designed to surprise and intimidate.

    And in some cases, this practice of going directly to the client is a clear violation of the Internal Revenue Manual provisions when the taxpayer is represented by counsel with a valid Power of Attorney on file.

    And by the way, if you are a Revenue Officer reading this, don’t drop by my office without scheduling an appointment and expect to have a meeting with me. It’s a complete waste of your time. Call first, and we can arrange a mutually convenient day and time to discuss all aspects of the case. And that will give me a chance to prepare for you and make it infinitely more meaningful.
  2. Even unrepresented taxpayers don’t have to succumb to an unscheduled interview; they have the absolute right to reschedule to a more convenient time, and/or consult with an attorney before providing any information whatsoever. By all means, do not complete a financial statement (Form 433) with and in the presence of a Revenue Officer; this is a form signed under penalty of perjury, and you want to take your time, providing complete and accurate information.
  3. If you have an attorney, do not speak to the Revenue Officer. Period. Call your attorney and have him or her speak for you. That’s the attorney’s job.

This is a disturbing practice, potentially subject to significant abuse. Don’t allow your rights to be trampled by aggressive IRS collectors. Contact a Chicago tax lawyer at 312-906-5041 for a free consultation.

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