IRS to boost visits to high-income people who haven’t filed tax returns

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The IRS announced Wednesday that it is increasing its efforts to make face-to-face visits to high-income taxpayers who haven’t filed one or more of their tax returns in recent years.

The visits will focus on taxpayers with income over $100,000 who have failed to file tax returns and who the IRS has already contacted by mail in an effort to resolve their tax issues.

During the visits, IRS revenue officers will be informing taxpayers of their obligations to file returns and will be working with the taxpayers to bring them into compliance, IRS officials said.

“The IRS is committed to fairness in the tax system, and we want to remind people across all income categories that they need to file their taxes,” Paul Mamo, director of collection operations in the agency’s small business/self employed division, said in a news release. “These visits focusing on high-income taxpayers will be taking place across the country.”

Initial visits as part of this initiative will be made in February and March and will focus on particularly egregious cases of high-income taxpayers not filing.

Revenue officers plan to make visits in about 800 cases during the initial phase, Hank Kea, director of field collection operations in the IRS’s small business/self employed division, said on a call with reporters.

The announcement of the increased visits comes during the tax-filing season. The deadline for people to file their 2019 federal tax returns is April 15. People can request a six-month extension to file returns, but still have to pay any taxes owed by the April due date.

The IRS is encouraging people who can’t afford to pay their taxes in full to file tax returns and work out a payment arrangement with the agency.

The IRS said that its boost in visits to high-income taxpayers who haven’t filed is coming after the agency hired additional enforcement staff.

The visits may be scheduled or unannounced. IRS revenue officers making visits will present two forms of identification that include their photos and serial numbers.

Nonfiling is one of the contributors to the “tax gap” — the difference between the amount of taxes owed and the amount paid on time. The IRS has estimated an average annual gross tax gap of $441 billion for the tax years from 2011 to 2013, of which $39 billion was due to nonfiling.

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