Posted: Sarah Nieschalk | December 15, 2015


When to Expect a Visit From the IRS

There is an excellent chance that you have no desire to receive IRS notices regarding an unpaid tax debt. It goes without saying, then, that an in-home visit is the last thing you want to think about. Nevertheless, in certain circumstances, you might just get a knock at the door from an IRS Revenue Officer.

It may be difficult to fathom a tax problem which results in face to face correspondence. In many cases, IRS issues can be reconciled by mail or over the phone. But there are definitely instances where you might be forced to grudgingly roll out the welcome mat at your home, office or business.


A common, albeit unnerving, reason for an IRS encounter comes when an audit is performed. Although you may be permitted to answer examination questions by phone or even through the mail, an in-person interview can be requested. The details of this meeting will be determined based on your examiner's availability and the overall circumstances of your case. If the audit involves your small business, for instance, the discussion may be held there. You'll be provided a list of necessary documents to prepare in advance and the duration of your audit can vary, depending on the complexity of the issue(s) in question.

Failure to Respond

If you have a tax problem and repeatedly disregard ordinary correspondence, such as notices, the IRS may pay you a visit. This may also be true in instances where they are attempting to locate you but don't have a current address. An unfortunate drawback to this scenario is that a Revenue Officer may take the initiative to contact friends, relatives or employers to help track you down. This obviously heaps embarrassment onto your tax issue until an agent eventually finds his or her way to your doorstep.

IRS Building

Property Seizures

A late-stage IRS collection action involves seizure of personal and/or business property and assets. In order to reach this step, you typically have to have made no effort to resolve your tax debt. Repeated notices requesting payment, attempts to garnish your wages or bank accounts and placement of a tax lien may all occur prior to this step. Eventually, though, the IRS can dispatch a representative to take possession of your house, vehicle, business inventory, and any other assets which may be liquidated to satisfy your balance.

Avoiding Unwanted Guests

You can rest assured that any visit from the IRS will not be a social call. But how do you prevent them from arriving at your home or business? First, don't neglect any notice you receive. Even if you disagree with an assessment, you'll want to respond and take the appropriate action to correct the situation. Secondly, don't attempt to evade detection. By failing to cooperate with the IRS, you will only be provoking further, more intense collection activity.

Ultimately, if you are unable to avert an IRS rendezvous, you will want to consult with a licensed tax professional. Since your time and resolution options may be extremely limited when a Revenue Officer is involved, it behooves you to explore protective measures from a tax professional. While you may be helpless to prevent meeting the IRS on your home turf, you don't have to do it alone.

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Written by Sarah Nieschalk

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