Former IRS Revenue Officer

Former IRS Revenue Officer

Michael Raanan, EA

Santa Ana, CA

Male, 35

My tenure with the largest and most powerful collection agency in the world, the IRS, began fresh out of college and with much surprise. Following an extensive interview process and a cross-country flight to the West Coast, I found myself in Los Angeles with the unenviable task of getting delinquent taxpayers back into tax compliance. After approximately 8 years of service, I left, and now find myself (very literally) on the other side of the table helping taxpayers resolve their IRS disputes.

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Last Answer on May 16, 2017

Best Rated

Did you see any of the lavish spending that the IRS is now being accused of while you worked there?

Asked by Shamwow over 4 years ago

The idea of lavish spending made me laugh. Not because it isn't a valid question (it certainly is), but because the reality of working at the IRS can be described as the polar opposite of anything that can be considered lavish, despite any abuses or poor judgments made by a few IRS heads. During my recent tenure, the organization was in desperate need of basics such as working fax machines, printers, toners, copy machines, and sufficient personnel. With new IRS leadership in place, hopefully operational funds wil be used in an efficient and judicious manner. 

 

Why would the IRS twist my arm to pay payment installment agreement fee even I turned around in less than a week to request that I will rather pay off whatever I owe in one lump sum? What can I do to avoid this fee which I see as just arm twisting?

Asked by fred57 over 4 years ago

Fees for setting up an installment agreement with the IRS are:

$105 for regular installment agreements
$52 for direct-debit installment agreements
$43 if a taxpayer's income is below a certain level

The only way to avoid the fee is by paying the tax liability in full prior to establishing an installment agreement. 

Related:
1) 11 Tips for Taxpayers Who Owe Money to the IRS: http://bit.ly/VMooQz
2) 10 Things to Know About the IRS Collection Process: http://bit.ly/JThMyU

Just how political is the culture at the IRS? Do people talk politics over lunch and such, or is that kind of stuff expressly discouraged?

Asked by Brash over 4 years ago

Within my office, employees discussed politics from time to time, but it was usually one of many topics of conversation. I don't recall an official prohibition of any particular topic, however employees did attempt to keep discusssions of more controversial topics, such as politics, as professional and politically correct as possible, similar to other professional workplaces.

Do you know approx how much of the extra tax revenue that's collected via IRS audit is from individual vs. business returns?

Asked by DayGlo over 4 years ago

For fiscal year 2012:

Revenue from Individual and Business audits = $10.2 B (Revenue from each is not clear)

Total Individual Returns Audited = 1,481,966

Total Business Returns Audited = 70,265

Source: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/FY%202012%20enforcement%20and%20service%20results-%20Media.pdf

Are you allowed to consult on the side while you're working as an IRS revenue officer? Seems like you could pull in a good part-time income that way?

Asked by Bekka over 4 years ago

Any work outside of the IRS must be pre-approved by the agency. Work related to tax preparation or tax consulting is explicitly prohibited by the IRS. Revenue Officers and other IRS employees have to refrain from pariticipation in any activity that constitutes a conflict of interest or 'perceived' conflict of interest. 

See this recent example of an IRS Agent who was recently sentenced for having an unapproved tax service on the side: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Former-IRS-agent-sentenced-in-database-case-4811725.php

As an IRS auditor, how are you evaluated performance-wise by your bosses? Do a lot of people get fired for poor performance, or is it unionized?

Asked by CKing over 4 years ago

Employees are evaluated on numerous Critical Job Elements (CJEs) throughout the year. Failure to meet the CJEs can result in a 90-day probationary period whereby the employee is given an opportunity to improve prior to termination, mandated re-training, transfer, or other alternatives. Exact procedures differ depending on the position and division within the agency, however auditors and other employees are reviewed regularly by their immediate manager, the manager's supervisor, and on a more macro level by the Area Director and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). 

Does an officer's subjective judgement come into play when deciding whether something is tax avoidance (ok) or evasion (not ok)? In other words, who makes that determination and how do you decide whether criminal penalties are warranted?

Asked by Emma over 4 years ago

As with almost all things IRS, the fine line between tax avoidance and tax evasion is dictated by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and Internal Revenue Manual (IRM), among other sources. Many criminal cases arise out of civil investigations where certain 'badges of fraud' are identified and examined to determine if a case warrants further research. If a Revenue Officer determines elements of fraud may be present, he/she will typically need to gather compelling evidence supporting those findings before presenting the case to the IRS attorneys. 

Related:
1) Recent IRS Investigations: http://www.landmarktaxgroup.com/taxpayer-resources/recent-irs-investigations