IRS announces major policy change, unannounced taxpayer visits to cease

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed on Monday that its agents will no longer conduct unannounced visits at taxpayers’ doors. The decision comes in response to concerns raised by some Republican lawmakers last year, who speculated that increased funding for the IRS would lead to a surge in audits for middle-class Americans, despite assurances from the Biden administration that audit rates would remain unchanged for those earning less than $400,000.

Unsubstantiated rumors circulating on social media about the IRS potentially arming its agents further fueled apprehension among taxpayers.

The IRS clarified that this new approach marks the end of a longstanding practice wherein unarmed revenue officers visited households and businesses to collect unpaid taxes and unfiled tax returns. With immediate effect, unannounced visits will be replaced by mailed letters scheduling meetings with taxpayers, according to the agency’s announcement.

In a statement, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emphasized that this shift in procedure is a sensible step taken to better serve the nation and taxpayers while bolstering confidence in tax administration and enhancing overall safety for both IRS employees and the public.

The National Treasury Employees Union, representing Treasury workers, expressed its support for the new policy, citing recent “false, inflammatory rhetoric about the agency and its workforce” as having compromised the safety of their employees. The union underscored that it had brought attention to “dangerous situations” faced by IRS Field Collection employees.

NTEU National President Tony Reardon conveyed his outrage over the current situation, stating, “It is outrageous that our nation’s civil servants have to live in fear just because they chose a career in public service.” He pledged to advocate for improved security measures for the represented employees and urged elected officials to refrain from misleading the public about the legitimate role IRS employees play in upholding democracy.

The IRS’s decision to eliminate unannounced visits signifies a notable policy departure that aims to strike a balance between effective tax administration and ensuring the safety and confidence of both taxpayers and IRS personnel.

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