Knock, Knock. Surprise, It’s the IRS!
While we have not heard of any official policy from the IRS, we have been witnessing an unsettling trend. In the past month we have had three clients who owed taxes received unexpected visits from the IRS. This is despite being in constant contact with the IRS and having a power of attorney on file. In all three instances, we were waiting for the Revenue Officer to be assigned to the case. Rather than call the power of attorney when assigned, as would be good procedure, the Revenue Officer instead chose to show up unannounced at the taxpayer’s home. From the beginning I will state that these may be anecdotal stories, however, they do point out some important principles.
When the IRS contacts you whether in person or over the phone do not panic. Calmly and politely tell them you have a power of attorney and ask that they please discuss the case with this representative. This should be enough for them to leave and follow the proper procedures. There may be a point where an interview or on site meeting is unavoidable, but this should be worked out with your power of attorney and not sprung on you without notice.
Once this becomes more known, it is possible that scammers could start knocking on doors impersonating the IRS. The IRS has given a set of guidelines to determine if the person at your door is actually an IRS agent. See here.
This is another example of why it is good to be represented by a power of attorney. The IRS can sometimes resort to questionable tactics, and it is good to have someone on your side to protect your interests.