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BRIAN WOZNIAK: I see it is the top of the hour. So let's get started. Welcome to today's webinar titled IRS Civil Enforcement Field Collection Operations and Employment Tax Compliance.

We're glad you're joining us. My name is Brian Wozniak. And I am a Stakeholder Liaison with the Internal Revenue Service. And I will be your moderator for today's webinar, which is slated for approximately 60 minutes. Before we begin, if we have anyone in the audience with the media, please send an email message to the address listed at the bottom of this slide. And when you email us, any members of the media, be sure to include of course your contact information as well as the news publication you're with, et cetera. And then our media relations staff or stakeholder liaison can assist or answer any questions that you may have. And as a reminder, this webinar will be recorded and posted to the IRS Video Portal in a few weeks. And you can find all the webinars that are posted at the IRS Video Portal at Technology problem, if you have a technology issue during the webinar, this slide shows some helpful tips and reminders. We've posted a technical help document. You can download from the materials button on the left side of your screen. And it provides the minimum system requirements for viewing this webinar along with some best practices and quick solutions. And if you've completed and passed your system check and still have problems, then we recommend you try one of the following.

The first option is to close the screen where you're viewing the webinar and relaunch it. The second option is to click on the gear icon. All of you may not see the gear icon. It depends on your web browser. But if you do see it, the gear icon would be in the top right corner of the slide or the photo box. And when you click it, you'll be given two choices. You can select then select flash instead of HLS from the available media box. select flash instead of HLS from the available media box. So if you do not have the gear icon and relaunching your viewing screen does not fix your problems, then try using a different browser to launch and view the webinar.

And you may also want to consider closing out some of the windows or other applications that you have open on your computer or viewing device. Mail materials, we hope that you did receive a PDF version of the PowerPoint in a reminder email. But if not, no worries, you can download it by clicking on the materials button on the left side of your screen as that displayed here on this slide. Also closed captioning is available for today's presentation. If you're having trouble hearing the audio through your computer speakers, please click on the CC button on the left side of your screen. And that will give you closed captioning. And that feature will be available throughout the webinar. Test your knowledge question, so during the presentation, we are going to take a few breaks to share knowledge-based questions with you. At those times, a polling style feature will pop up on your screen with a question and multiple choice answers.

You need to select the response you believe is correct by clicking on the button, the radio button that will be next to the selections. And then you have to click submit. If you do not get the pop up box for responding to the question, please send me your response timely in the ask questions feature so we can track your participation. And one item, I do just want to step back a moment and give the email address for our media folks. We had a request for that. So again, if you're with the media, you can email us at I know that's a lot, So we need you to answer the test your knowledge questions. We use that to track your participation. If for some reason it's not working for you, simply use the ask question feature and send us a message so we'd we can see that you are participating. Next, asking questions, if you do have a topic specific question on the material today, you again submit that also by clicking the ask question button. You enter the question in the text box and click submit. And please I cannot emphasize this enough do not enter any sensitive or taxpayer specific information. And we ask that you wait for your specific topic to be addressed before submitting your question because the answer might be in the material we cover today. So moving right along with our session, let me introduce today's speaker. Darren Guillot is the director of field collection at the IRS. And he has program responsibility for field collection nationwide including international and ATAT revenue officers, revenue officer advisors and property and liquidation specialists. Darren oversees a staff of over 3,100 employees. And field collection employees help taxpayers understand and meet their tax responsibilities. And when appropriate, they enforce the tax laws. So with that, I'm going to turn it over to Darren to begin the presentation. All yours, Darren. DARREN GUILLOT: Thank you so much, Brian. And welcome, everybody, for joining us today for this live webinar. And we're going to talk about IRS civil enforcement. We are all familiar with enforcement at the IRS when we think of press releases when there are criminal convictions worked by our Criminal Investigation division. But we might miss the fact that most of the enforcement taken by the Internal Revenue Service is actually civil enforcement, things like liens and levies.

Subordinations and discharges are ways that we can find opportunities that are an alternative to those lien actions. But seizures and levies and liens are much more frequent than criminal actions taken by the IRS. So civil enforcement is a significant part of the enforcement done by the Internal Revenue Service. And in particular, today, we're going to talk about employment tax compliance. The revenue officers as you just heard work in my operation. And revenue officers are civil enforcement officers. They're throughout the country. And they make unannounced, almost always unannounced field visits to taxpayers, both individuals and businesses, when our other compliance activities have failed, notices haven't worked, perhaps working with our automated collection system by phone hasn't worked, by far the most frequent interaction that we have with taxpayers. And those are successful. But when they don't work, a case is signed to our revenue officer. And they have quite a significant amount of authority. And most of the work they do involves withheld employment taxes. And today, I wanted to talk about why that is and why it's so important. So let's talk about the objectives that we have for this webinar. We'll talk about our role and the resources we have. I'll also talk about specifically where we're focused as leaders in field collection and the priority that we're putting on developing complex issues, subterfuge, fraud and things of that nature and also how we can and do educate employers about their responsibilities and the IRS's role on employment tax compliance. Those employment tax specific items we're going to talk about start with education. Enforcement and this is really important. It's never our first resort. It's a last resort. We always start out with education. But then there are a number of enforcement actions and authorities we have through our civil investigative and enforcement mission that include the trust fund penalty, detecting things like successors in interest and taking actions such as suits in district court, seizures and making recommendations for potential fraud. And I'm also going to talk about the unfortunate risk that come sometimes and frequently, but they're awfully sad when they happen, risk of using a third party that's not handling your account properly. So let's talk first about the resources that I mentioned. If you look at this chart, you'll see that in 2010, we had over 4,000 revenue officers out in the field, assigned cases. And over the past nine years, that number has significantly been reduced mostly by attrition and the IRS having to make tough budget decisions. At the end of last fiscal year, we were down the 2,168 revenue officers.

That's a 47 percent decline. Now, fiscal year 2019 is not yet over. But I can tell you that although I'm fortunate and we're fortunate the IRS to have some significant hiring occurring this year, while we train those employees, I presently have roughly 1,992 trained revenue officers.

So that decline in revenue officers to actually address case work is actually down by 49 percent. And how much work do they have available to us? Over 1,300,000 cases, individuals and businesses who haven't filed or haven't paid their taxes, all waiting in what we call the queue.

So these are cases where the other types of activities to secure those debts had failed. And those cases had been assigned to the Internal Revenue Service. And if you will please excuse that pause. I had a little bit of a technological blank there. So and in fact, also a good time now to move to a polling question I think, Brian. WOZNIAK: I agree, Darren. Great timing.

Audience, our first polling question is on field collection officers. It's being displayed on your screen. It reads field collection revenue officers, A, are assigned the most complex collection and non-filing cases, B, are expected to secure collection information statements and view assets in the field, C, use both educational and enforcement tools in their cases or, D, all of the above. So please take a minute. Click on the button, the radio button that you believe most closely answers the question of course based on the information that Darren just shared with you. We'll give everyone about 10 more seconds or so to read the question, click the button and submit their response. So, audience, please answer the question. And of course, if you're having trouble with the popup windows, use the ask question feature to submit your response. And with that, let's stop the polling about now. And we'll share the correct answer on the next slide. The correct answer is D, field collection revenue officers do all those things. They are assigned the most complex collection and non-filing cases. They are expected to secure collection information statements and to view assets in the field. And of course, they do use both educational and enforcement tools in all of their cases. Now, we're looking to see how many of you responded correctly. And 92 percent of the audience responded correctly. So great job, everyone. And, Darren, we'll turn it back to you. GUILLOT: Thank you. Well, this is a sharp audience. So the revenue officer's role is a little different than other parts of the IRS. I mentioned that we make almost always unannounced field visits. Now, we have the discretion to make planned field visits. And we do when that's appropriate. But the bottom line is for nearly a century, on one job description or another, the type of work revenue officers do has been going on. And the impact of working with a field officer from the Internal Revenue Service is specifically designed to change the long term behavior of the taxpayer, the behavior modification. It's much more important than even tax collection because what we're trying to accomplish and what you try to accomplish when you represent your client, the taxpayer, is to try to determine what is causing the concern or the problem and to fix that problem so that it doesn't happen or it isn't repeated in the future. And so for my employees, it's very important that when they meet with a business owner or an individual who has unpaid tax liabilities and who can't pay them when we ask for payment on that initial visit, we're going to conduct a financial interview. For an individual, that interview takes about 45 minutes to an hour. For a business owner, that could take about 2 to 2-1/2 hours. And we secure information to determine what's potentially causing the taxes not to be paid but as importantly how long and what are the options available to the taxpayer to pay us back. And in the course of that interview, we have data through our own studies that show meeting face to face with taxpayers, asking these questions in a polite and courteous way has a beneficial impact on a long term compliant behavior of taxpayers whether we're talking about the owners of a business or an individual who owes past due income taxes. So by focusing my employees over the past four years, and we have, on making sure that when they visit taxpayers, that do we conduct those interviews face to face at the taxpayer's home or at their business, we've seen the increase you see on the screen here over a 38 percent increase. What you don't see is the data through 2019. They're averaging about 21 percent face time with taxpayers. So it's actually a 40 percent increase at this time.

So you as representatives have the right to meet with us instead of your client. That is your right. That's a legal right that we always observe. But I would encourage all of you to think of it this way. You and I are in the same line of business. You don't want to see the same client over and over again every couple of years. Sometimes, they're not paying us. They're not paying your fees either on time. And your hope is to help them understand and meet their tax obligations so that you don't work the same issue with them every, say, a year or so. So be open to the possibility when invited by one of my revenue officers to be present with your client in front of the revenue officer either at their home or business or even if it has to be in your office to meet face to face with your revenue officer. Because again I can tell you anecdotally and even with data we've done through our own research that shows when a taxpayer meets with the IRS face to face many more taxpayers tend to become compliant long term. And that's a win for the tax system. It's a win for you as a representative and obviously it's a win for the Treasury Department. So just be open then. Moving along, I want to talk about a very specific and important risk. This number 60 represents $60 billion in taxes withheld in trust by employers on behalf of the United States. You may refer to these taxes as payroll taxes or withheld employment taxes. These are the taxes withheld on a quarterly Form 941 or the annual form 940 or tax return. And there are an average between $57 and $61 billion annually on the IRS's books and records that are not paid currently. Some of those cases are assigned. Some are in uncollectible status. Some are in part payment agreements, and some we just don't have the resources to get them assigned. But $60 billion I hope you'll all agree is a significant risk to the nation's treasury. And I want to show you why. On the pie chart then I'm showing you, I want you to pay close attention to the purple and red portions of this pie chart. Now, data that came out this year indicates that the Internal Revenue Service secures 95 percent of all the revenue that funds our republic. That's an important role. We're very proud of that at the Internal Revenue Service. We take that role very seriously. This pie chart demonstrates what portion of all those revenues, the over $3 trillion collected by the Internal Revenue Service, how much of it comes from these payroll taxes. If you're interested in a precise number, it's 71.9 percent. I'll round it at 72 percent. Seventy-two percent of all the revenue secured by the IRS is actually withheld at the source by employers in trust on behalf of the United States.

And I say it that way because I want to stress why it's so important to us. I showed you a resource short chart just a moment ago about our declining resources. But you also know that concurrently an increase in our activity face to face out there in the field. And here's the reason. And it's common sense that as you'd I hope you'd agree when you look at this pie chart this is where most of America's money comes from. And we've had to make some tough decisions over the past 10 years as we worked within the budget constraints that the IRS had.

But one area we have not, will not and will never compromise on is in this area of employment taxes because in many ways, this is what funds America. It's that important. The IRS secures 95 percent of America's revenue. And 72 percent of it involves these withheld employment taxes.

It's a significant part of America's revenue. So, Brian, how about a time for another polling question? WOZNIAK: I think we can do that. In fact, it's a great time. So audience, I hope you are ready. Here is our second polling question. And as you can see on the slide, it starts off which of these statements is true, A, the number of revenue officers has declined in recent years, B, the cumulative revenue officer field time has declined in recent years, C, employers always send their federal income taxes withheld to the IRS timely or, D, employment taxes are not a priority. So again, audience, Darren just shared in lot of information with you. Please take a moment. Read the slide. Read the answers. Click on the radio button you believe most closely answers this question. Which of these statements is true. And we'll give everyone about 10 more seconds to make your selection. OK. That should be sufficient. We are going to stop the polling now. And we will share the answer on the next slide. The correct answer is, A, the number of revenue officers has declined in recent years. And to take a look and see, I see that 86 percent of you responded correctly. So, Darren, that was a lot of information. But it looks like our participants are tuned in and eager to hear from you. So with that GUILLOT: Are we WOZNIAK: being the case, go ahead. GUILLOT: Hey, thank you, Brian. Any I know taxes are a very scintillating topic. So this really shows you are paying attention. So hopefully, I'm doing my job. So thank you. And let's move onto some important data that I think will impress you. You're looking at a graph from the department of labor statistics excuse me the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it demonstrates the number of small businesses out there in America and their survival rate. It covers a time period of 1994 to 2015. Before I go to this chart, let me just point this out. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, small businesses account for more than half of Americans, employers. So when you look at this graph, in some ways, I would suggest this is our country. If you believe the business of America is business, look at this. These are people who risk everything because of an idea or a passion.

They raise capital often by borrowing against any equity they have. They risk everything to create a product, to deliver on a dream, income that's taxable. It creates jobs that could that offer wages, that pay for braces on children and roofs on homes. It's taxable. And this is how our country's finances and then in many ways work and survive. And look at the survival rate between year four and five. Almost half of them are no longer in business. And these are not my customers, who are stealing payroll taxes. These are businesses that are doing the right thing and they are not in business anymore after that fourth or fifth year, many of them, not because they've gotten sideways ways with the Internal Revenue Service but simply because of economic factors and the normal ebb and flow of capitalism. And it's time to do something else.

But for four or five years, they provided jobs for half of our friends and neighbors and family.

And over 90 percent of them told the IRS Oversight Board in a poll a few years ago that one of their priorities for us or the IRS is to make sure that we make sure that that playing field is level, that we are pursuing people who don't do the right thing and pay their payroll taxes because if they're not, they have an unfair business advantage over the businesses that are properly paying their payroll taxes on time. So what are some efforts that we do to meet that commitment to those taxpayers who do it right, who play by the rules? One of the first actions we take is called a federal tax deposit alert. It's a proactive, educational effort where my employees or enforcement officers will visit nearly 7,000 businesses each year who based on our algorithms and systems are clearly starting to fall behind. We have very good intelligence that would indicate a business is about to become a debtor all behind on these withheld payroll taxes that are so important to 72 percent of the money that we collect. And we will visit them before the return is even filed. So there's no legally perfected debt. So we have no authority to take enforcement action against them. But they get to meet face to face with an Internal Revenue officer who explains to them the importance of these funds, the consequences if they file a return and owe these taxes and an offer from us, how we can help them get caught up and not become a compliance risk to the treasury and subject to enforcement action by the IRS. And when we do this, we've seen a notable improvement in compliant behavior. And these businesses don't become our customers. So we don't have the resources to visit the hundreds of thousands of businesses who may be falling into this category. But each year, with the resources we have available, and that used to average just over 5,100 businesses a year, we're now visiting over 7,000 businesses a year roughly. If that does not work and keep in mind whether you have one of these proactive visits by a revenue officer or not, a number of notices are sent to taxpayers making them aware they're falling behind on these taxes and the consequences. But if that doesn't work, you'll see that we have a number of enforcement actions that we can take. One of these is called the trust fund recovery penalty. If there are new lawyers out there, the code section is 6672. And it is a successor statute from a law that was passed in 1918 that gave the Internal Revenue Service the authority to pierce the corporate veil. In other words, if you're running a business and you're paying payroll taxes to your employees or not depositing those taxes, the business is using those for some other purpose, the Internal Revenue Service will use its revenue officers to conduct a detailed civil investigation to determine who is found to be responsible and willful for having not deposited those taxes. And we can assert a penalty up to 100 percent of that amount against individuals, against their personal assets, their homes, cars, you name it. So this is a rather significant amount of authority given the Internal Revenue Service. It's a solemn duty we have. We take it very seriously. We don't lightly assert this penalty against individuals and pierce the corporate veil. And thus a detailed investigation is required where we secure evidence before we make a penalty like this against an individual. But beyond this, we can issue a levy. A levy is a form of a seizure. A typical levy in our world at the IRS involves seizing the funds in a bank account. We could also levy accounts receivables that are owed to be paid to a business. In addition, there is what we call a Disqualified Employment Tax Levy. For purposes of brevity, on the screen, you'll see the acronym only DETL.

So if you've ever worked with the IRS Office of Appeals, the Independent Office of Appeals, you know that they had that clients, that taxpayers have collection due process rights. Before we take levy action or lien action after we file the lien excuse me taxpayers have a right to go to appeals. And that will suspend almost always any enforcement activities by my revenue officers. However, if a taxpayer has had a prior appellate hearing under a collection due process within the past two years, and they accrue payroll taxes again, my offices are authorized to exercise their discretion and levy, take seizure action first and at the same time give them concurrently their appeal rights. But we do not have to delay taking enforcement action. So that's a rather significant step by our employees. And we don't do it lightly. The other are successors in interest. We're finding an increasing trend where businesses who are not paying the payroll taxes will frequently participate in a scheme where they get a new federal ID number and operate and name and federal ID number as a new entity. But in fact, they're the same business. They're the same principles running it, the same assets, the same funds and in many cases even the same employees. And there are a number of tests that we execute in performing that investigation. If we determine that a business is a successor entity, we have a legal process that we pursue. And we will collect from a successor entity that believes at least it's trying to stay one step ahead of the IRS's collection efforts. We also have collaborative efforts with the Department of Justice Tax Division and the Criminal Investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service. So for those businesses that are egregiously doing payroll taxes from their employees, if we've met with you, if we've had a conversation with you, done our best to implore that you become compliant and you continue to behave in this way, we can seek a suit for injunctive relief through our counsel attorneys with the Department of Justice where we will bring you into U.S. district court and ask a judge for an injunctive order that prohibits you from accruing payroll taxes. And if the taxpayer violates that order, they can be found in contempt of court. And sanctions could include incarceration or things like that. In some cases, we've seen where a judge has ordered professionals to stop conducting business at all, prohibited them. In addition, we see an increasing number of criminal referrals from my employees who when they detect badges of fraud will use the evidence they've compiled in a civil investigation and refer the matter to the IRS Criminal Investigation division. The revenue officers that work for me account for the single largest percentage of work that's referred to CI each year for the past three years. And the acceptance rate is well over 80 percent. And over 90 percent of those cases involve convictions. So my employees do everything they can to educate taxpayers. But when that doesn't work, we have a number of enforcement actions that we can take up to and including bringing a taxpayer in a federal court or referring them for criminal investigation.

These trust fund cases, these cases involving these payroll taxes are an increasing percentage of the work that I assign to my employees. At this time, roughly 70 percent of the work that I assign to my employees involves these types of taxes. And I hope you understand with the information I showed you earlier that was the reason why it's a priority with the limited resources I have. This is where I'm assigning most of my work. And these are some of the things that I just discussed that can happen if the business does not work with us to try to amenably resolve their case. We will certainly try to get them in an installment plan if we can't get them to pay in full. In fact, the vast majority of the cases do end up being worked amenably. But where a taxpayer continues to exhibit noncompliant behavior, these unfortunate enforcement actions I just discussed will occur. Brian, how about time for another polling question?

WOZNIAK: Sounds good. Our third polling question, it's going to be queued up here. And we'll take a moment to review the question and possible answers. The objectives of a revenue officer include, A, to work with the taxpayer and representative to change noncompliant behavior for the long term, B, to conduct financial interviews face to face with the taxpayer wherever possible, C, to discuss payment options for the taxpayer who cannot immediately pay the entire amount of delinquent taxes or, D, all of the above. Again, you should be familiar with this by now. So take a moment. Click on the button, the radio button that you believe most closely answers the question based on the information that Darren just shared with you. And we'll give everyone about 10 more seconds to review the question, possible answers and to submit their response. OK.

We're going to share we're going to stop the polling. And then we'll share the correct answer on the next slide. And the correct answer is, D, all of the above. The objectives of the revenue officer do include all those items listed on the slide. And while I'm waiting for the percentage to see how many of you responded correctly, Darren, we had a lot of questions coming in just asking you to cover again what the acronym DETL stands for. GUILLOT: Sure. Thank you, Brian. That DETL stands for Disqualified Employment Tax Levy Disqualified Employment Tax Levy. And as the name implies, a taxpayer is ordinarily allowed due process rights to go to appeals before I actually issue a levy. We typically issue a warning that we're about to levy.

And it gives the taxpayer an invitation to pursue their appellate rights before I actually take levy or seizure action. A Disqualified Employment Tax Levy is again just that. If the taxpayer has had a prior appellate hearing for the same type of taxes within the past two year lookback period, then I am authorized to take levy action simultaneous with issuing their appellate rights. Meaning I'm not going to delay taking an enforcement action until after your appellate hearing is over. WOZNIAK: OK. Thanks for clarifying that, Darren. And by the way, I just want to comment and say that 99 percent of the audience responded correctly. So, Darren, back to you to talk more about employment tax efforts. GUILLOT: Thank you. Well, it's a sharp audience.

Ninety-nine percent, I don't think I've seen that in one of these forums before. So we will now move on to additional employment tax efforts. I talked about the possible risk of using a third party. Now, I want to be very clear. People who are in business I said the business of America's business, I really believe that. I truly do. And my employees understand that even when there are payroll taxes out there are people who work for a business. It's not in our interest. We want to see America succeed. I showed you how many of Americans work for small business and how much of America's money come from these payroll taxes. The IRS is not seeking to cause a business through its enforcement efforts to potentially decide they're going to close their operations. People will lose their job, we will work as hard as we can, do everything we can to help a business become compliant so they can stay in business and thrive. One of those things that business people do to thrive people who are experts at engineering or dry cleaning or whatever their business is, they they're probably not an expert at taxes. And many businesses benefit from the vast majority of honest third parties that handle their taxes for them. But unfortunately, from time to time, we encounter third party providers who claim to the business owner that they are taking care of the payroll taxes and in fact are doing things that aren't proper with that money. They are not paying those taxes to the IRS. And one of the that they don't know there's a problem. And so for a few years now, the IRS has provided things that they will do to deceive the business owner is intercept the notices from the IRS so business owners with a way to exercise ordinary care and prudence. And it's called the dual notice. So the bad actors among the third party population, very small part of that population but they do a lot of damage what they'll do is change the taxpayer's address so that IRS notices go to that other address and not to the business owner. So for a few years now, we've had a safeguard in place where if the address is changed by the third party, the taxpayer, the business owner will get a notice also, a dual notice letting them know the address has been changed. And this will alert them that their third party has changed their address. It may well be changed for valid reasons. But if it's changed for not valid reasons, will it will help the business owner become aware. In addition, not the IRS but the Treasury Department, if you go to U.S., if you go to, they have on the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System you can put that in their search engine. The acronym is EFTPS. You see it spelled out here, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. You can sign up there to get EFTPS alerts. So when you ask for that, if there is anything that seems out of the ordinary with the level of your or frequency of your deposits being made by a third party, you will get an email from the Treasury Department from the EFTPS system saying, "Hey, something seems a little bit different here." Again, this is not at This is a Treasury Department service that you can you go to the Treasury Department's website under EFTPS and sign up for those alerts. We have alerts I mentioned them earlier federal tax deposit alerts. Unfortunately, if one of my revenue officers shows up unannounced at your business and says, "It looks like you're falling behind." if it's because a third party is not doing the right thing with your funds, they've probably already done some damage. But at least, that's still early enough in the process. You can you can help mitigate some of the damage. And beyond that, a trust fund recovery penalty, well, if one of my employees is conducting a trust fund recovery penalty interview, there's a significant amount of funds probably owed. And that would certainly alert you that the third party didn't pay the taxes. If you become a victim of one of these unscrupulous third party providers, there's a way to complain, an official form. It's Form 14157, Return Preparer Complaint. We give these high priority. And we work every single one of them. Let's go to another polling question, Brian. WOZNIAK: OK. This would be our fourth and final polling question. So let's review the question and possible answers. Field collection initiatives to address delinquent trust fund taxes include, A, using FTD, federal tax deposit alerts as an early intervention tool, B, implementing dual notices to minimize the risk associated with fraudulent address changes, C, using data analytics to identify noncompliant taxpayers more quickly or, D, all of the above.

And again, audience, you should be pros at these by now. So go ahead. Click on the radio button you believe most closely answers the question based on the information that Darren just shared with all of us. And we'll give everyone about 9 or 10 more seconds to review the question, possible answers and to make a selection and submit their answer. OK. That probably should be sufficient. So we're going to go ahead and stop the polling now. And we will share the correct answer on the next slide. And the correct answer is, D, that field collection initiatives to address delinquent trust fund taxes do include all those things using the FTD alerts as an early intervention tool, implementing dual notices to deal with fraudulent address changes, using the data analytics for noncompliant taxpayers, et cetera. So with that, again, that was our fourth and final polling question. Hope everyone had an opportunity to respond. For the audience, this does complete Darren's presentation. And now, we're going to move onto our Q&A segment.

But before we begin the Q&A session, a couple administrative items. First of all, I want to thank each and every one for attending today's presentation. Again, it was titled IRS Civil Enforcement Field Collection Operations and Employment Tax Compliance. And Darren is still with us. And he will be answering questions. We also have a couple of subject matter experts on the line in case we need to reach out and phone a friend so to speak. So before we get to the questions, Darren, did want us to emphasize that to everyone to know that field collection is always here to help. So with the Q&A session, if you haven't input your question yet, there's still a few more moments, there's still time. Go ahead. Click on the ask question button. Type your question and submit it. And obviously, we may not have time to answer all the questions that have been submitted. And there are a lot of them. However, let me assure you we'll try to move through in the next 10 or 15 minutes or so and answer as many as time allows. I do want to state that if you are participating in today's webinar to earn a certificate of completion or related continuing education credits, you will qualify for one credit by participating for at least 50 minutes from the official start time in a webinar, which was at the top of the hour.

So those few minutes before we started of chatting, that doesn't count. So sorry about that.

So, Darren, we're going to dive right into it. We'll get started. We'll try to get to as many questions as possible. Bear with me as I go through these. I have to navigate through the technology. The first question is really a combination of multiple questions. So let me just get it out there. And you can respond accordingly. There is several questions that are asking, number one, do revenue officers have the right to come to my home or business unannounced and related questions on if they come unannounced how can we verify that someone is a revenue officer or that they are an official IRS employee. Is there a telephone number I can call to verify their identity? People have gone on, they're mentioning in this age of tax schemes they're very cautious about these revenue officer visits. So again, revenue officers showing up unannounced. And how can they verify this as a legitimate IRS employee? GUILLOT: Brian and then this audience. I'm so glad you raised that. That's an that's a wonderful question to have, the first one that pops up. So we are aware. And the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or TIGTA is very actively involved in pursuing scammers, people who pretend to be the IRS and take advantage of people. So there are just an incredibly large number of scam IRS individuals out there reaching taxpayers every year. In fact, the number's so large there's a very, very good likelihood that the customers we visit had been contacted by the fake IRS before I visit them. And so one of the first things I have to achieve when I meet with one of your clients is to assure you of my authenticity. I mean if you'd if you're curious how likely that is, just ask yourself have you or someone you're close to ever been contacted by the fake IRS. My son was contacted by the fake IRS, my wife. It even impacts me. We've had people in the IRS headquarters building where I'm located now call here in the IRS building by the fake IRS threatening to put us in jail. It's a real and it's a big problem. And it's not simply done by phone. It's done over the internet. And it's even done from time to time by people out in the field, visiting people in person. So my employees carry yes, we do make unannounced field visits. These are urgent important cases. And I mentioned early on why they were. We need to get out there as quickly as possible. And historically, many many decades as far back as anyone can remember, two types of employees typically make unannounced field visits, revenue officers on the civil enforcement side and special agents of the Criminal Investigation division.

Occasionally, revenue agents, into the examination, the audit work will also make unannounced field visits. But frequently, their visits are planned ahead, scheduled an appointment to look at books and records. But revenue officers almost always make unannounced field visits. And for all three of those positions, revenue officers, special agents and revenue agents, yes, we are authorized to make unannounced field visits. So how can you tell that we're the real thing? My employees carry two forms of identification. Well, one's a form of identification. And one conveys our authority. They will have an HSPD-12, Homeland Security Presidential Directive.

HSPD-12 is the official name of it. It's a small business card sized plastic laminated badge that has a gold microchip on it, a picture of the employee. And it has serial number. It conveys their identity. They also carry pocket commissions. You might think of it as a badge like from the movies at a bi-fold that opens up. And on the top, it shows you a picture of the IRS building, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service. And on the bottom will be the picture of the revenue officer and the information that conveys their authority to require and receive information. It also has a serial number. If you ask to see those forms of identification, they should show you both of them. But at a minimum, you'll see the pocket commission, which conveys their authority. Again, it has their picture. If the person you're meeting with refuses to show you both of them, you're very likely dealing with an impersonator.

You asked about a phone number. What if even the forms of ID aren't good enough? Yes. There is a special toll free number that my employees can provide you to call. And they will verify my employee. They will know what my employee looks like, their height, et cetera, the serial number on their ID. And they can confirm that we are real revenue officers. This number is not publicly available. And I can't share it with you now. And I hope you understand why. And I'll let you know. Because millions of taxpayers are contacted by the fake IRS, if we were to share that toll free number with the public just generally, then we would be getting phone calls that we just could never handle the volume. That's how active the fake IRS is. So my officers have that number with them every time they make a field call. If you ask for the toll free number, they will provide it to you on a case-by-case basis. They will never tell you no. They'll hand it to you. But it's not something we put out there publicly. In addition, if you are really concerned and you call the local police, the state police or the FBI, they have access to a special 24 hours dispatch number where they can look at the serial number in the picture on the ID. And they can verify my employees every day of the week. So hopefully, it never comes to having to call the police. But we have two forms of official identification that can be viewed by the taxpayer or the power of attorney. There is a toll free number that we can share with you. And they can verify we're the real thing. And you know what? If you still believe you're dealing with a fake person, a perpetrator, a scammer, my advice is just say, "I don't want to talk to you. Give me give me an address. And I'll come to your office if you'd" because the most important thing is you need to feel safe and trust that you're dealing with the real Internal Revenue Service. Hope that answers the question. WOZNIAK: That was a great answer, Darren. Obviously a concern in this age of tax scams. Let's move right on to the next one.

It's kind of a I don't want to say a related question. But it deals with requesting. There is there is multiple ones here. Can a taxpayer or small business owner request to meet in person with a revenue officer? And the flipside of that is does the taxpayer, small business owner have to meet with the RO? Some ROs, revenue officers say they have to meet with clients even if there's a 433-A was given, the financial information statement GUILLOT: Great question.

WOZNIAK: meeting with or without GUILLOT: So and if you insist on meeting face to face with my employee, no, we'd we don't have to do that. I can tell you that with 1,992 trained I've got many more in training right now but trained revenue officers who are making field visits, I don't there are parts of the country where it is hundreds of miles away to the case.

And we may be we prefer to meet face to face 100 percent of the time. But the reality today is you saw the resources I shared with you earlier. I've got enough work for about 4,000 officers. I've got 1,992 trained people. There are some parts of the country where the work, the taxpayer's location, their business, their home is sufficiently a distance away that it's not cost effective for us to go to them or for them to come to us. It's pretty rare. But it does happen. So that's why I answer the question, "No, I'm not required to come and meet you face to face if there is an efficiency reason." It wouldn't be a wise use of taxpayer money or it's a burden to put on the taxpayer. Either way, that's not good. Now, with regard to whether or not I can demand that you meet with me face to face on an individual tax case, the answer is no if you have a valid power of attorney. If you have a Form 2848 on file with us that you're representing that taxpayer, again, I think it's in your interest and mine to let me meet with that taxpayer face to face with you present helping answer questions for them or regulating how they answer questions. I totally understand that. But if you absolutely don't want your client to meet my employee face to face, you can say you don't want that. And I have to honor that. However, if it's a business and we're talking about these payroll taxes, my employees are authorized and are required to tour the business. They have to see the business. They need to that they so they can demand to see the business. Now, they can't demand that the full interview happen face to face at the business if they don't want that to happen. Certain types of interviews like the trust fund recovery penalty interview, we prefer to do those face to face. If we feel we really want to get that interview done face to face and the taxpayer refuses, and you don't want it to happen face to face, we will issue a summons to you, to the taxpayer to appear at our office or to at the proper location for that interview. WOZNIAK: OK. Boy, thanks, Darren. Let's try to get a couple more in here. Moving right along, you mentioned the power of attorney. We have questions from tax return preparers. What is our responsibility when we prepare the taxes, notify the client that they are due to be paid and the client continues not to pay? GUILLOT: What's their responsibility if their if the if their client doesn't comply is what I heard, Brian. So if you're representing someone, and you've told them what the right thing to do is, and we've come to some sort of agreement on what your client, what the taxpayer needs to do let's just use a practical example, a very typical one. And let's use an income tax case. I need a Form 433-A. That is a that is a form with the standard questions, script for investigative interview basically where we ask questions to determine the taxpayer's ability to pay. Sometimes, taxpayers refuse to provide that. At times, they ask for more time. If they have a power of attorney, frequently, they will engage the power of attorney after we've already made an unannounced visit or even take an enforcement action. And it's only that at that time that they feel like they need someone else to help them. And the practitioner will reasonably ask for some additional time because they're just getting involved. And we'll we will honor an extension of time for the practitioner to get the financial information. If your client refuses to give it to you so that you can give it to us at a reasonably established deadline, that is when my employees will again take an enforcement action. It may be a summons compelling them to appear, provide the information. It could be seizing funds in a checking account or a savings account. It could be seizing property, vehicles, accounts receivables, things of that nature. WOZNIAK: OK. And, Darren, we'll try to squeeze in one more question here. We'll keep it pointed. Question is what is a suit for injunctive relief. GUILLOT: Sure. A suit for an injunctive relief is the federal government exercising a lawsuit basically So, businesses that are not paying their payroll taxes, and we have tried to secure those funds through an installment plan. We've tried to we've impressed upon the business owner you can't continue to do this. The business continues to take withheld taxes and not pay them to the Treasury. It's what we called pyramiding. So if we've met with you, we've tried to work with you, we've warned you and seizure of assets is futile, there is either nothing to seize or it wouldn't make a difference in the tax liability, I've got two options, I'm going to pursue you criminally with a referral to Criminal Investigation or I'm going to ask the IRS attorneys and IRS Counsel to submit a request or that we will to refer the case to Department of Justice Tax Division to seek a suit for injunctive relief in the U.S. district court because they have the jurisdiction over the 941, the employment taxes. In the court, the taxpayer will meet with the federal judge.

The government's attorneys will request an injunctive relief order. That's what our suit is asking for. And if the judge grants that order, the judge is basically ordering the business owner to not withhold taxes and not pay them to the Treasury. And the specific sanctions will frequently be outlined in that injunctive order. And if the business owner violates that order, they are in contempt of court. I'll give you a real example. Northwest United States, we had a pair of taxpayers who are involved in healthcare profession. And they were doing this sort of thing. They accumulated an awful lot of payroll taxes that weren't paid. We got an injunctive relief order through our suit for injunctive relief. The taxpayers continued to pyramid payroll taxes. The judge ordered them to stop practicing in the health area they were in, literally took away their ability to work because in performing their work, they were continuing to add to the U.S. deficit to those 72 percent of the nation's revenue that fund to those payroll tax.

They were being withheld from employees and not remitted to the Treasury, something they did and, Brian, it's important for the audience to know. These taxes withheld from those employees are the source of social security checks. Those taxes withheld by those are frequently the foundation from which an income tax refund will be issued. Those taxes withheld are involved unemployment insurance and so forth. Irregardless of whether those funds came into the Treasury by that employer, the United States, the Treasury Department is obligated to remit them out.

Now, think about that for a moment. Money that we never receive for certain benefits that will go to taxpayers or refunds will have to go to those taxpayers even if the Treasury never received the money. It's a direct impact on the nation's deficit. It's a really important area of noncompliance. And we simply will not sit by idly and not take enforcement when that's happening. WOZNIAK: Thank you so much, Darren. And, Darren, we are right at the top of the hour. So I think we're going to have to close the questions for now and move onto our closing.

But before we close out today's webinar, do you have some key points? I see on the next slide some key points to share with our audience today. GUILLOT: Sure. Again, enforcement's a last resort. It's never our first resort. We train our employees extensively. And being able to explain to them why the source of revenue that we're seeking to recoup for the government is so important. And we talk to them about that, what their responsibilities are. And we let them know. We don't just take enforcement. We warn them ahead of time the types of enforcement that can happen. It should not be a surprise that it could be criminal or civil, that we could seize assets. We tell them this verbally. And we share it with them in writing. We work face to face in the community. The reason the Internal Revenue Service has field-going employees is because we have over a century of experience knowing and a heck of a high voluntary compliance rate in this country because America truly believes that if you don't do, ah, take your tax responsibilities seriously there's a good chance you're going to meet the IRS face to face.

And so it's important that we're out in the community not just for people who aren't compliant but for people who are compliant, that you know that there's a consequence if you're doing the right thing for that small percentage of our citizens that don't. So I think I spoke already about our role in behavior modification. The important thing I want to get across is it's one area where I can honestly say you and I are in the same line of business. We're both seeking long term change by that taxpayer so that they're not a frequent customer. And employment taxes, it's a key focus because it's where the majority of America's money comes from. And my revenue officers are the front line. They are the key enforcement personnel in make staying on top of that portion of the nation's revenue. It's super important. I gave you the numbers around it. I hope you that that was helpful because it's not something that is commonly known.

But if I told you that 72 percent of the money that you use to pay for your bills at home could be at night at risk, I think you'd all agree that would be a very important concern to you.

So thank you. WOZNIAK: OK, Darren. And on behalf of everyone, I'd like to say, Darren, thank you for sharing your knowledge and your expertise and staying on and answering these questions.

We really do appreciate it. So moving on, we are planning additional webinars throughout the year. So to register for any upcoming IRS webinars, you just simply go to And you use the keyword search webinars. And then you can select from webinars for tax practitioners or webinars for small businesses. And, yes, we will be offering certificates and CE credit for other upcoming webinars. You can also visit the IRS video portal at And again, the video portal contains video and audio presentations on topics of interest to small businesses, individuals, tax professionals, et cetera. And you will also find some video clips of tax topics and archive versions of live webinars like this webinar. In a few weeks, it's going to be posted there. And again, a big thank you to Darren for a great webinar and for answering all those questions. And I want to thank you, our attendees, for attending today's webinar. Again, it was titled IRS Civil Enforcement Field Collection Operations and Employment Tax Compliance. So if you attended today's webinar or at least 50 minutes after the official start time at the top of the hour, you will receive a certificate of completion that you can use with your credentialing excuse me credentialing organization for one possible CPE credit.

And if you are eligible for a continuing education from the IRS and registered with your valid PTIN, your practitioner tax identification number, then your credit will be posted in your PTIN account. And if you're eligible for continuing education from the California Tax Education Council, your credit will be posted to your CTEC account as well. And if you registered through the Florida Institute of CPAs, your participation information will be provided to them for earning your CPA CPE. Now, here's the important part, folks. If you qualify and have not received your certificate and/or your credit by August 22nd, then you need to email us. The email address is listed at the bottom of the slide there,

And again, you should have your certificates by August 22nd. And if you're interested by the way in finding out who your local stakeholder liaison is, you may send us an email using that address shown on the bottom of the slide. And we'll send you that information as well. So as part of the Service's efforts to provide you with timely topics and interesting speakers, we'd appreciate if you just take a few minutes to complete a short survey, a short evaluation before you exit. If you'd like to have more sessions like this one, let us know. If you have thoughts on how we can make them better, you can provide us that feedback. If you have a request for future webinar topics or other pertinent information you that maybe you want to see it in an IRS factsheet or a tax tip or a frequently asked question on You can send us all those suggestions in the comments section of the survey. So just click on that survey button on the left side of your screen to begin. If it doesn't come up, I'd suggest that you check to make sure your popup blocker is disabled. But with that, it has been a pleasure to be here with you.

And on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service and Darren, I would like to thank you for attending today's webinar. It is important for us, for the IRS to stay connected with the tax professional community, small business organizations, industry associations, federal state, local governments, individual taxpayers. It's all of you. You all make our job a lot easier by sharing the information that allows for proper tax reporting. So thanks again for your time and attendance. We wish you much success in your business or practice. And you may exit the webinar at this time. Thank you again.