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IRS ends unannounced armed visits to taxpayers’ homes

Internal Revenue Service Federal Building. (U.S. General Services Administration)
July 25, 2023

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has decided to curtail its decades-old practice of surprise visits to taxpayers’ homes. This move, aimed to enhance safety and increase efficiency in operations, is expected to reduce confusion and anxiety among the public, as well as ensure the safety of IRS employees.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel officially announced Monday that IRS officers will no longer pay unanticipated visits to taxpayers’ residences. Instead, the public will receive formal letters outlining meeting arrangements.

The IRS change comes as a response to growing security concerns, and the proliferation of scam artists causing confusion over home visits.

“We have the tools we need to successfully collect revenue without adding stress with unannounced visits,” Werfel said. “The only losers with this change in policy are scammers posing as the IRS.”

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Werfel emphasized the critical role of additional funding under the Inflation Reduction Act, which will facilitate increased staffing. He also noted that this policy change will largely disadvantage scammers, who often impersonate IRS agents, thus confusing and intimidating the public.

The decision has been welcomed by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), citing the increasing risks faced by IRS Field Collection employees due to inflammatory rhetoric about the agency.

According to The Daily Caller, the IRS policy shift follows an incident involving independent journalist Matt Taibbi’s revelation of an IRS investigation into his tax filings that occurred soon after he exposed government corruption. The incident, which included an IRS agent coming to his home, lead to questions about the nature and purpose of unannounced visits.

The new approach will involve IRS officers contacting taxpayers through an appointment letter, ensuring a scheduled, face-to-face meeting. However, the IRS emphasized that there will still be rare instances where unannounced visits occur, such as during sensitive enforcement activities.

“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,” Werfel said.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.