Another tax season has come and gone, and, inevitably, that means there are people who missed the deadline. You have undoubtedly advised clients who missed the deadline about late-filing and late-payment penalties and the interest that will be due on their tax bill. Well, the Internal Revenue Service recently released information that could also help late filers: how to verify the person at the door is actually an IRS agent.
First things first, the IRS does make unannounced visits to taxpayers’ homes or places of business. And these official visits are generally for one of the following reasons:
Taxpayer Owes Taxes or Hasn’t Filed
When a taxpayer is paid an unannounced visit by a revenue officer, it’s probably to discuss taxes owed or a return that hasn’t been filed. As the agency points out, “revenue officers are IRS civil enforcement employees whose role involves education, investigation, and, when necessary, appropriate enforcement.”
Taxpayer is Being Audited
The words “IRS audit” strike fear into the hearts of taxpayers across the country. For some, the phrase might evoke the image of a beloved cartoon bunny being hauled away by the IRS, and others may remember that Al Capone was eventually apprehended for tax evasion.
Regardless of how you feel about audits, remember that the IRS will notify the taxpayer by mail before setting up an appointment (that may be confirmed via phone). In other words, this visit shouldn’t be a surprise.
Taxpayer is Being Investigated
If a taxpayer is being investigated for tax fraud or tax evasion, then don’t expect a courtesy call from the IRS criminal investigators before they arrive. That being said, they will produce a badge and credentials.
More Information from the IRS
The IRS is sensitive to the fact that tax-related identity theft and fraud schemes are becoming a ubiquitous part of American life. That’s why they have a page dedicated to helping taxpayers . determine if the person knocking is legitimately from the IRS
How GruntWorx can Help
Providing help for a client beyond reviewing and preparing a return takes time, and, luckily, GruntWorx can help. GruntWorx services like Organize and Populate eliminate the need for manual document organization and data entry, so preparers can focus on counseling their clients on other important tax-related matters.
Since GruntWorx integrates with leading tax preparation software, you can get up and running in no time: especially if you attend a webinar.