What do you do if an IRS employee shows up at your door?

What do you do when an IRS employee shows up at your door? Well, I need to actually define  a couple of different types of IRS employees so that you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The first type I’m going to identify is called a Revenue Officer. A Revenue Officer has certain limited powers. They’re not law enforcement officers and they don’t carry a badge or a gun. They typically carry what’s called a pocket commission. It’s a plastic ID badge of sorts and they are not authorized to carry firearms. Typically, revenue officer’s jobs are to go out and collect money from taxpayers who haven’t been able to pay it. Revenue officers tend to collect on larger cases rather than smaller cases, although I have dealt with revenue officers on cases below $5000. They have an emphasis on collecting payroll taxes cases as opposed to income tax cases. But I actually have dealt with the revenue officers dealing with income tax matters on a great number of occasions.

Now, oftentimes, the revenue officer will decide that the best way that they’re going to be able to deal with your particular matter is to go ahead and show up at your place of business or your residence as a first point of contact. What does this do? It actually makes a tremendous impression on the taxpayers, I’m sure you can attest, but it tends to get the ball rolling. Many Revenue Officers will actually like to kind of barge their way into your residence because what are they looking for? They’re looking to see what kind of stuff you have and what kind of lifestyle you live.

You need to know that a Revenue Officer – now remember, these are the folks who are without badges and the guns – a revenue officer is not entitled to enter your residence providing that you don’t have a public area in your residence, and I can’t really think of any public areas in residences off the top of my head – but they’re not entitled to come into your residence, absent a search warrant or a court order of some kind. If they have those particular items, they’re going to be accompanied usually by a local law enforcement and so there will be no doubt there.

I would encourage you if you’re dealing with a Revenue Officer to not engage them in protracted conversation. I think that you should be polite and you should be civil and that you should indicate that you have a Power of Attorney or you will be getting representation of some sort in order to help deal with this problem.

You see, a revenue officer wants to pin you down on day one and they want you to get to answer certain questions right then and there. These questions are rather complicated in certain instances. They are questions that you probably don’t know the answers to right off the top of your head. I think that if you are contacted by a Revenue Officer, that you should contact a tax professional right away so that he can get the help that you need.

There is another type of IRS employee called an IRS Special Agent. Those folks tend to investigate tax offenses, tax crimes. These folks tend to travel in pairs. They carry gold badges and they also carry guns. If these folks show up at your place of residence or your business, you don’t want to talk to them under any circumstances. Look, there is nothing you can say to change their minds. You’re going downtown, no matter what. So, do yourself a favor, shut your mouth and get on with it.



I can’t tell you in my previous career as a criminal defense attorney how many cases – hundred of cases – that I’ve had where if the client, the defendant had just kept their mouth shut, there was no case. Period. End of discussion.

So, if you find yourself in that particular situation, zip it, shut your mouth, tell them you want to talk to an attorney and that’s the end of the discussion.

If a Revenue Officer shows up at your place of business, what can they do? Well they can only enter those public areas of your establishment. So in my office, if you were to come visit, what there is is you open the front door and there is a very small lobby area, and then there is another doorway and there is a window. Now, of course, they can’t climb through the window but they also can’t pass that door because that’s the limit of that public area. In a restaurant, I would suggest that that area is the dining room, it wouldn’t be the kitchen for example, it wouldn’t be the back offices, unless the public has a public invitation to enter those areas.

That’s what you do if you are dealing with a Revenue Officer or an IRS special agent and they appear at your place of residence or your building.

If you’ve had an IRS employee show up at your home or business and you don’t know what to do…how about giving me a call at (888) 438-6474? I would love to speak with you and see if we can (together) figure out a way to get you out of the mess that you’re in. There are options. But you won’t know what you don’t know until you’ve talked to someone who has been there and done that. You have nothing to lose. The consultation is free.