(PatriotWise.com) — On Monday, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it is ending its policy of making unannounced business and home visits as part of an effort to improve its workers’ safety and prevent scammers from posing as IRS agents, the Associated Press reported.
In a statement on Monday, the IRS said the policy is ending “effective immediately,” except in some “unique circumstances.” Instead, the agency will notify taxpayers by mail to schedule a visit.
In a press call, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel told reporters that this was the “right thing to do, at the right time.”
In recent years, IRS agents have experienced an increase in threats, prompting the agency to announce last August a comprehensive review of safety measures at its facilities. In May, the IRS said that it would start limiting its workers’ personal information on communications with taxpayers.
The Inspector General’s Office for tax administration expressed concern in a recent report that “taxpayers and anti-government or anti-tax groups” may use social media or the Internet to find and identify IRS agents to “threaten, intimidate, or locate them for physical violence.”
The agency’s decision to end unannounced visits was praised by the union representing IRS workers.
In a statement, National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said IRS workers would continue helping taxpayers “efficiently and effectively” through “other means of communication.”
The IRS policy fell under scrutiny earlier this year when it was learned that the IRS sent an agent to journalist Matt Taibbi’s home on the day he was testifying to the House subcommittee on the weaponization of government about his research into the Twitter files.
In March, Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan sent a letter to Commissioner Werfel questioning the timing of the visit.
Commissioner Werfel told reporters on Monday that he believes that the issues raised by Congress “will be significantly mitigated” now that the policy on unannounced visits has ended.
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