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The Difference Between IRS Agents and Officers

Writtin by: Paul Bogdanoff, CPA

All Internal Revenue Service representatives are not created equal. I am not referring to their communication styles, knowledge or personalities, but to their duties and responsibilities. Most taxpayers will encounter both revenue officers and agents. Since there are differences between them, it may be important to know what they do, if they show up at your door.

Revenue Agents Are Auditors:

Agents are the bean counters and it is their job to assess the amount of tax owed and are not involved with the collection of the tax.  They carry a blue and white plastic badge with photo identification.  Usually the audit will be initiated by sending a notice to the taxpayer informing them that the taxpayer is being audited.

Revenue Officers Are Tax Collectors:

The duties of a revenue officer are to locate taxpayers who owe back taxes and to collect the tax. They may also secure delinquent returns or assist the taxpayer in preparing delinquent returns. They also carry blue-and-white plastic photo ID cards to identify themselves.

Revenue officers are authorized to levy bank accounts, file tax liens and garnish wages and may even seize assets to cover the debt. If the IRS believes that you owe back taxes and IRS officers will visit your home or business unannounced.  The objective of the revenue officer is to collect the most tax that can be collected and as quickly as possible.

Special Agents Are the Police:

Special Agents are the enforcement arm of the IRS. Special agents carry badges, firearms and are also known as Criminal Investigators. They investigate tax crimes like embezzlement, suspected IRS tax code violations, money laundering, counterfeiting, and accounting fraud.

Taxpayers Have Rights:

If you are approached by a revenue agent or revenue officer, the experience can be unsettling and confusing. Knowing your rights is important to ensure that you are not put in a hardship situation. It’s often in your best interests to hire a tax resolution firm to represent you, rather than dealing with the situation yourself. Bogdanoff Dages and Co., P. C. has over forty years of experience working with taxpayers to resolve their tax issues.  Please call BD and Co., P. C. if you have tax issues and would like to discuss your situation.