What’s the Difference Between an IRS Revenue Agent and a Revenue Officer?

Life can be difficult enough at times, without having to worry about incurring the wrath of the taxman. When it comes to your books and accounts, you should always adhere to the rules laid out by the IRS. IRS tax representation services, EA, CPA, Lawyer, are highly sought-after in the tax-business world, and we can understand why. When dealing with the IRS, or other seemingly trivial tax matters, it always pays to know as much information as possible. One common misconception in the world of taxes, and one which IRS tax power of attorneys, enrolled agents, CPAs, lawyers, are often hired to help address, is the confusion between an IRS revenue agent -RA and a revenue officer -RO. The two, though similar as far as damaging power, are not the same.

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Here’s a look at the differences between IRS revenue agents and IRS revenue officers.

What is an IRS Revenue Agent – RA – An IRS revenue agent has the primary job of conducting tax audits & examinations for businesses and individuals, along with trusts and non-profit organizations. The thing to remember with revenue agents is that they generally are hired to audit & examine the more complex tax returns of everybody from multi-billion-dollar corporations, to smaller LLCs, and schedule-C sole proprietor businesses. In terms of minimum job requirements, revenue agents need, at least, a Bachelors’ degree or above, in accounting from a university or accredited college with at least 30 semester hours of accounting. These agents are NOT required to serve as CPAs, although some still are. Once the revenue agents have carried out the audit, it is then down to them to determine the tax liability. IRS revenue agents – RAs do not collect taxes however. No, that job falls to a revenue officer.

What is an IRS Revenue Officer – RO – Now it’s time for us to take a look at what an IRS revenue officer happens to be. These officers are considered to be highly skilled at what they do. They are therefore assigned to collect the more complex and difficult cases of IRS tax debt. When the IRS has tried, and failed, to collect taxes from organizations or individuals, either via mail, phone, tax levies, wage garnishments, or more besides. Basically, when the IRS is finding it virtually impossible to collect tax debts owed to them, that is when they assign an IRS revenue officer to the case. These officers are not considered accountants, nor do they have much training or experience when it comes to substantive law. Revenue Officers – ROs will generally provide contact & advice the potential taxpayer, and decide whether to file tax liens, levies, seize or sell assets, or to determine what type, if any, of payment plan can be set up. If for example, somebody was seriously in tax debt, it would be down to the revenue officer to decide whether or not to accept an offer in compromise, or alternative payment plan.

So, as you can see from the above, although the two may have similar job titles, in terms of job roles and responsibilities for the IRS, IRS revenue agents and revenue officers are actually both very different to one another. You have the right of representation by a power of attorney, such as enrolled agents, CPAs, and lawyers.

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