January 4, 2017

Dealing with unresolved tax issues with the IRS can be a stressful experience. If you have unpaid taxes owed to the IRS, you can certainly expect to be contacted by someone at some point. You may be contacted by the Automated Collection Service or ACS, or you may be contacted by an IRS Revenue Officer. Is there a difference between the two? Yes, there is. In fact, your overall experience with the IRS greatly depends on the party that makes contact with you.

With the Automated Collection Service, it is unlikely you will deal with the same person twice. This means that you may need to explain your story from beginning to end each time they call, and that there may be inconsistencies in the way your case is handled and how you are treated. If you are contacted by a Revenue Officer, you can be fairly certain that you will be working with the same person throughout the entire process. This means that he or she will already be familiar with the circumstances and facts of your entire case.

The ACS cannot visit you at home or at work, as all their work is conducted over the telephone—though they may contact you after business hours. A Revenue Officer is authorized to make unannounced visits to your office or home during business hours Monday to Friday. This is because the Revenue Officer assigned to your case typically works from an IRS office that is close to your place of residence or business.

When dealing with the Automated Collection Service, you may opt to work with a different individual by simply asking, or putting down the phone and calling at another time. The ACS is a series of IRS call centers that are staffed by the agency’s collection employees. With a Revenue Officer, you have no control about who gets assigned to handle your case. There is little you can do if the individual is unpleasant or unreasonable.

The ACS cannot seize your personal property or your business assets, though it can levy your wages or bank account. The ACS relies on information stored in its database, which means that it focuses on liquid-type assets that can easily be taken by a computer notice. The Revenue Officer, on the other hand, is authorized to levy wages, bank accounts, and any accounts receivable, levy retirement funds, as well as lien property and subpoena documents.

Some taxpayers prefer working with one of these with these parties over the other. If you wish to change from the Automated Collection Service to a Revenue Officer, you may request a change. Before doing so, consult with a tax professional to see if it would be advantageous for your particular situation. If the change from the ACS to a Revenue Officer is automatic, you may need to wait several months before you hear from the Revenue Officer assigned to your particular case. If your case was initially assigned to a Revenue Officer, however, then you can no longer request it to be reassigned to the ACS.

Categories: IRS