At a continuing education seminar tailored for tax attorneys and certified public accountants held in Austin, Texas in December of 2009, officials from the IRS flew out from Washington and announced that up to 2,500 new Revenue Officers would be hired by the agency in 2009 and 2010. The IRS announced to those of us who represent individual and business taxpayers of its intent to aggressively collect past due federal taxes. The hiring of such an unprecedented number of Revenue Officers in such a short period of time does not bode well for the taxpayer.
A Revenue Officer is empowered by the United States to take whatever legal means is necessary to collect taxes. These individuals are based in the community and may come to the home or business of a taxpayer to examine books and records or to collect. A Revenue Officer may issue summons for records, may record federal tax liens upon real property, or may issue bank or wage levies to seize assets or income. The Revenue Officer is the IRS’s “bad dog”, and the unarmed and unprepared taxpayer is often just another bone on which the Revenue Officer chews, until the poor taxpayer, rightly or wrongly, simply gives up and gives in.
Given the current level of federal debt and poor economic outlook, it is highly unlikely that the United States Treasury is going to have much compassion for those who have not or cannot pay thier taxes. Rather than hiring more persons who could assist the embattled taxpayer, such as those employed by the Taxpayer Advocate, Uncle Sam is clearly looking out for it’s own bottom line.