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You can't mention IRS abuse without mentioning the IRS Collection Division. The two are synonymous. The men and women who work in the Collection Division are known as Revenue Officers (R.O.'s). R.O.'s can be compared to bad debt collectors or bounty hunters. They are not rewarded for being nice or helpful to taxpayers. They are rewarded for closing cases and collecting tax.

R.O.'s are trained to "be your friend " at first because they want you to volunteer all your personal and business information. You know, just file this and disclose that, and everything will be all right. And oh, by the way, sign everything under the penalties of perjury. When the R.O. has all the chips on his side of the table, he suddenly turns into the meanest, nastiest person you have ever met. Revenue Officers will lie to you time after time if there are no witnesses around. If you get smart with an R.O., he will enter all kinds of derogatory information in your file that will indicate you are hostile and uncooperative.  If you have to appeal your case, everyone up the ladder will automatically view you as hostile and uncooperative.

It is interesting to note that an R.O. can lie to the taxpayer and prepare bogus reports without fear of a reprimand. However, you, the taxpayer, can be punished with monetary fines and/or jail time for lying to an R.O., or omitting a bank account on one of your financial statements. If R.O.'s were required to submit their reports under the penalties of perjury, the entire Collection Division would implode.

R.O.'s enjoy making surprise visits to your home or office, and they will start pumping you for information as soon as you open the door, before you have had time to think about your answers. Caution: If you come face-to-face with an R.O. simply identify yourself, take his card, and tell him you will have someone contact him in a few days. Do not invite him in for a visit. Get away as soon as you can. Let a professional handle your case. R.O.'s are not your friends. They are bounty hunters and they will lie to you and violate your rights to get whatever they want as long as there are no witnesses.

According to a March 18, 2003, article in the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Inspector General has received more than 3,500 complaints filed against IRS employees for such acts as falsification of documents, destroying documents, harassment, threats of violence, threats of audit, assault and battery, and extortion.

Many professional organizations, such as the American Bar Association, have openly criticized the Internal Revenue Service for the low standards required for initial employment with the Collection Division. Controversies oftentimes occur simply because the new R.O. was poorly trained and does not have the ability to read or comprehend the Internal Revenue Manual he is supposed to follow. This pattern of hiring less-than-qualified individuals leads to many mistakes and abuses that never get reported. Yet this is the person authorized to seize your bank account, your automobile, and your wages.

Whether the R.O. is a poorly trained beginner or a veteran collector, it won't be good for you, the taxpayer, to be alone. Don't become a victim of the IRS Collection Division. Hire a professional to protect your rights every step of the way.

Taxpayers who find themselves at odds with the IRS should never speak to them directly, even if they’re completely innocent. Get an expert who deals with the IRS every day.