There are a few different Internal Revenue Service (IRS) professionals, including revenue officers and revenue agents. If you owe back taxes or you’re facing a tax audit, you may work closely with an IRS revenue officer or revenue agent. We cover the differences and similarities between these IRS tax professionals to help you understand who you are dealing with.
We know that experiencing tax issues or owing back taxes can be stressful and confusing. If you want tax audit representation or revenue officer representation, turn to us at Polston Tax for assistance.
What Is an IRS Revenue Officer?
An IRS revenue officer is an IRS employee who collects fees or delinquent taxes. A revenue officer can also be employed by a local or state tax department. Revenue officers perform their job on a case-by-case basis, and they typically contact individuals or businesses directly when they owe the IRS money.
What Are the Duties of a Revenue Officer?
Primarily, a revenue officer is involved in collecting delinquent or overdue taxes owed to the IRS or the local or state tax agency they work for. The following are an IRS revenue officer’s additional responsibilities:
- Levying accounts receivable
- Conducting interviews with taxpayers
- Filing court orders to get search warrants
- Initiating judicial and administrative action
- Filing for extensions on statutes of limitations regarding tax collection
- Designing payment plans to help taxpayers to pay their back taxes over time
- Garnishing or levying wages and seizing personal property like assets to pay delinquent taxes
- Obtaining and analyzing financial information to assess an individual’s ability to pay their tax bill
Though a government employee, an IRS revenue officer doesn’t carry a firearm and cannot arrest taxpayers. A revenue officer carries two official forms of identification — an HSPD-12 card and a pocket commission. To qualify for the position of IRS revenue officer, an individual must obtain a bachelor’s degree, preferably with a concentration in economics, statistics or mathematics.
What Is an IRS Revenue Agent?
An IRS revenue agent is an auditor who works for the IRS or a state or local government agency to review tax filings and identify any discrepancies or errors. Typically, a revenue agent holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, though they may sometimes hold an associate degree. This requirement may be waived, however, if the individual is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
A revenue agent may have a specialized background and training. These specialists can hold a variety of titles like computer audit specialists (CAS), employment tax specialists (ETS) and financial products and transactions examiners (FPTE).
What Are the Duties of a Revenue Agent?
IRS tax agents examine tax returns and conduct audits in person to determine the amount that the taxpayer owes. Typically, an IRS tax agent should have a basic background in accounting. The job of a revenue agent is to ensure that the tax liabilities of small businesses, individuals and corporations have been met. Some revenue agents exclusively work with the records of suspected criminals like money launderers and drug dealers. These agents may need to provide testimony in court.
In a basic audit, a revenue agent may contact you via phone or email to discuss your tax return or ask for supporting documents. When the audit is complete, the revenue agent will determine your tax liability.
Revenue Officer Versus Revenue Agent
IRS revenue officers and revenue agents have many differences and some similarities.
What Is the Difference Between a Revenue Officer and an Agent?
An IRS revenue officer collects taxes, while a revenue agent handles tax audits. A revenue officer tends to cover the more challenging tax cases for tax agencies. When the IRS is unable to collect back taxes via phone calls, letters, garnishments or tax levies, they send a revenue officer to handle the case. A revenue officer has the authority to seize and sell assets that can cover the tax liability, along with the ability to approve or reject a payment plan.
A revenue agent, on the other hand, has the responsibility to assess a tax liability through an audit. This audit is also referred to as an examination. Revenue agents work directly with taxpayers, tax preparers, tax lawyers and taxpayers’ representatives. A revenue agent determines the proper amount owed, while a revenue officer does not play a role in determining what the taxpayer owes. Instead, a revenue officer is focused entirely on efficiently collecting the determined amount of owed taxes.
How Are IRS Tax Agents and IRS Revenue Officers Similar?
IRS revenue officers and tax agents are both government agents who work toward the goal of getting a taxpayer to pay the taxes they owe. Typically, both revenue officers and agents have educational requirements. For many revenue officers and agents, this requirement is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. They also both work for the IRS, but their positions and responsibilities vary.
Should You Speak With an IRS Representative Alone or With Representation?
You can choose to speak with either IRS representative alone or you can hire a tax attorney to help you through the process. The following are some of the benefits of seeking representation from us at Polston Tax:
- Collect your materials: We can help you gather your materials quickly, so you have the information needed when the revenue officer reaches out. Having your materials on hand ensures the process can proceed quickly and smoothly.
- Leverage a team approach: When you have a whole team of tax professionals on your side, you can leverage a team approach to your unique situation.
- Make a positive impression: When you are dealing with an IRS representative, making a positive first impression is key. We can help you communicate with the revenue officer promptly regarding their requests.
- Take control of the situation: Our tax attorneys at Polston Tax understand your rights and can help you develop a strategy to resolve the issue of your back taxes. By taking control from the beginning, you may be able to avoid unreasonable deadlines and pay back your taxes in a way that works for you.
Contact Us at Polston Tax
At Polston Tax, we provide tax resolution services, including IRS levies, liens and IRS or state audits. We can help you prepare your tax return so you don’t have to worry about it. If you are a business owner, we can help you with your business accounting and solve problems you don’t have the time for. Our services include:
- Tax planning
- Tax preparation
- Audit representation
- IRS tax debt resolution
- State tax debt resolution
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Cannabis accounting and bookkeeping
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