Course Correction: IRS Announces End to 'Most' Unannounced Home Visits


Most Americans haven’t encountered the unsettling experience of having a federal agent knock on their door unannounced — and most likely hope they never do. That the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was among those agencies that engaged in this practice came as a surprise to me – and I suspect I’m far from alone in that – when I first learned that just such a visit occurred at the residence of independent journalist Matt Taibbi, coincidentally while he was testifying before Congress regarding the Twitter Files.


Subsequent revelations regarding the nature of the matter opened regarding Taibbi, including its timing as well as its being completely unfounded, only served to highlight the disturbing nature of the incident — and highlight the irony of it coinciding with his testimony before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

The IRS claimed that they had been looking into Taibbi’s 2018 tax return to make sure that he wasn’t the victim of identity fraud and sent him two letters that he and his accountant says he never got on October 24 — nine days after he filed his return — and March 23, 2020.

The IRS then claimed that they opened an examination into Taibbi’s tax return on Dec. 24, 2022 — Christmas Eve and a Saturday — making no effort to contact him until they showed up on his doorstep on March 9, 2023, three years after their alleged last letter and the very day he was appearing before Congress.

[B]ut it also happened to be three weeks after he published the first Twitter Files detailing government abuses and the same day that Mr. Taibbi published the ninth segment of the Twitter Files, detailing how federal government agencies “from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA” coordinated to censor and coerce speech on various social media platforms. It is unclear from the documents alone why the IRS opened its examination of Mr. Taibbi’s tax return on such an unusual date or whether it coincided intentionally with Mr. Taibbi’s reporting about government censorship.

Not only wasn’t there any identity fraud or whatever the IRS was claiming out there, but indeed, they failed to produce these “purported letters” that they claim they wrote to Taibbi, or explain why they opened a case, to begin with, or why they went to his home.

On top of it all, not only didn’t Taibbi owe any taxes, he was entitled to a “substantial refund,” according to the letter from Jordan and they closed the matter against him on March 23.


Then came the story of an Ohio taxpayer who received a visit in April from an IRS agent who used an alias to trick his way into her home.

On Friday, Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) revealed that an Internal Revenue Service agent used an alias to try to trick a taxpayer into letting him into her home. In a letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, Jordan asked simply, “Why is the IRS using fake names to harass Americans?”


The Committee also released a press release, writing:

[We have] new information that an IRS agent visited an Ohio taxpayer on April 25, 2023, using a fake alias and deceptive tactics to secure entry into the taxpayer’s home. The letter raises serious concerns of the IRS abusing the civil liberties of American taxpayers and requests documents and communications related to the deceptive field visit. The House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government continue to examine how to best protect Americans’ fundamental freedoms.

The good news is the agency has announced its intention to end most unannounced home visits. (The bad news, of course, is that they were occurring, to begin with – and still will be, in some instances.)

The Internal Revenue Service announced Monday that it will “end most” unannounced visits by agency revenue officers to taxpayers’ homes as part of an effort to address “public confusion and enhance overall safety measures for taxpayers and employees.”

The IRS says the change “reverses a decades-long practice by IRS revenue officers, the unarmed agency employees whose duties include visiting households and businesses to help taxpayers resolve their account balances by collecting unpaid taxes and unfiled tax returns.”

“Effective immediately, unannounced visits will end except in a few unique circumstances and will be replaced with mailed letters to schedule meetings,” the IRS said in a statement.

“We are taking a fresh look at how the IRS operates to better serve taxpayers and the nation, and making this change is a common-sense step,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “Changing this long-standing procedure will increase confidence in our tax administration work and improve overall safety for taxpayers and IRS employees.”


While it’s still difficult to understand why any such visit should occur without prior notification, the IRS maintains such instances will be “rare” going forward.

The agency says the “rare instances” in which such visits will continue are for “service of summonses and subpoenas; and also sensitive enforcement activities involving seizure of assets, especially those at risk of being placed beyond the reach of the government.”

“To put this in perspective, these types of situations typically number less than a few hundred each year — a small fraction compared to the tens of thousands of unannounced visits that typically occurred annually under the old policy,” the IRS said.

Learning of the announcement, Taibbi expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and his staff in pushing back on the practice.

Taibbi tweeted:

Wow. Thanks to ⁦@Jim_Jordan and his staff for pushing this issue. The IRS shouldn’t be making surprise visits, and they should get credit for making the change.


It is disconcerting to learn that “tens of thousands of unannounced visits” were occurring annually under the old policy. That seems unwise for everyone involved. Kudos to Jordan and the Weaponization committee (and Taibbi) for shining a light on a practice that was ripe for an overhaul.


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