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.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +

Share:

Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

56 Questions

Share:

Last Answer on May 16, 2017

Best Rated

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 about 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.

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

Asked by Shamwow about 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 almost 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

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 about 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

is it true that declaring ANY gambling winnings on your return makes your chance of an audit skyrocket? I won $950 on slots last year, but I didn't declare it because it's a relatively small amount. (Yes, I know it's wrong.)

Asked by JessMilano about 4 years ago

While no one knows exactly what flags an IRS audit, gambling income alone shouldn't usually be cause for concern. Out of the 1,481,966 audits conducted by the IRS in 2012, about 1,122,216 (76%) were completed via correspondence (versus field or in-person audits).

In the case of gambling winnings, the casino will file a copy of Form W-2G with the IRS. If IRS records don't reconcile with income reported on a tax return, a systemic (computer-generated) notice is sent to the taxpayer asking for clarification. 

The IRS has provided this online tool to help determine if you need to claim gambling winnings and if you can deduct gambling losses: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Do-I-Need-To-Claim-My-Gambling-Winnings-and-Can-I-Deduct-My-Gambling-Losses%3F

Related:
1) 6 Ways to Reduce Your Chance of an IRS Audit:
http://www.landmarktaxgroup.com/taxes/6-ways-to-reduce-your-chance-of-an-audit

 

IRS Circular 230 Disclaimer: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, you are informed that nothing in this post is intended to be used as or construed as rendering any United States tax advice and is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any matters addressed on this Website.

 

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 about 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

Politics aside, what did you think of the Paul Ryan tax plan? And on a similar note, has any politician campaigned on a tax plan that made IRS insiders across the board go "Jesus, that guy has no idea what he's talking about"?

Asked by tony v about 4 years ago

I'm not too familiar with Paul Ryan's tax plan, however any "tax plan" that is easy for the average American to understand and treats all taxpayers equally and fairly sounds like a good one to me. I'm a big supporter of the K.I.S. concept - there's almost always a way to keep it simple, even with taxes.