IRS to Visit High-Income Individuals Who Fail to File Tax Returns

February 24, 2020 Updated: February 26, 2020

The IRS announced on Feb. 19 that it will be increasing efforts to visit high-income earners who have failed to file one or more of their tax returns in prior years.

Beginning this month, the government agency, which has been hiring additional enforcement personnel, will be sending its revenue officers to conduct face-to-face visits with some individuals as part of an effort to “inform these taxpayers of their tax filing and paying obligations” and bring them “into compliance.”

The effort will focus on people with incomes in excess of $100,000 who failed to file Form 1040 in 2018 or in previous years, the IRS said. According to the Washington Examiner, the IRS anticipates 800 visits in the first two months, with thousands more expected throughout the year.

In addition to the face-to-face visits, the IRS said it will be increasing the use of data analytics, research, and new compliance strategies in an attempt to reach taxpayers and tax return preparers who haven’t filed federal tax returns.

“The IRS is committed to fairness in the tax system, and we want to remind people across all income categories that they need to file their taxes,” said Paul Mamo, director of collection operations, Small Business/Self Employed Division.

“These visits focusing on high-income taxpayers will be taking place across the country. We want to ensure taxpayers know their options to get right with their taxes and avoid bigger issues later.”

For those who refuse to pay, the IRS can pursue civil enforcement actions or criminal cases against taxpayers when appropriate. The government agency said compliance personnel are also now working more closely with IRS criminal investigators on priority compliance issues, including high-income cases.

According to data from the Tax Policy Center, 43.1 percent of U.S. households didn’t pay any income tax to the federal government last year, while 42.8 percent are expected not to pay in 2020.

Elsewhere in its announcement, the IRS detailed ways to identify a legitimate revenue officer, and said that the majority of these high-income taxpayers should have received a number of letters from the agency over an extended period of time before revenue officers pay them a visit.

The agency noted that officers would never make threats or demands and should always carry a valid form of identification which the taxpayer can ask to see.

It comes after the Federal Trade Commission reported that imposter scams were the No. 1 type of fraud in 2019, with people reportedly losing more than $667 million to imposters pretending to be calling from the government or a well-known business, as well romantic interests, or a family member with an emergency.