IRS building (Photo: Allison Bell/ALM)IRS building in Washington. (Photo: Allison Bell/ALM)

The Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday that it’s boosting its face-to-face meetings with high-income taxpayers who’ve failed to timely file tax returns in 2018 or previous years. The agency also warns taxpayers to file, even if they can’t pay potential taxes due.

Paul Mamo, Director of Collection Operations in the Small Business/Self Employed Division, said in a statement the visits are meant “to ensure taxpayers know their options to get right with their taxes and avoid bigger issues later.”

Following the recent and ongoing hiring of more enforcement personnel, IRS revenue officers across the country will increase face-to-face visits with high-income non-filers taxpayers who generally received income in excess of $100,000 during a tax year and did not file a tax return with the IRS.

(Related: IRS Floats Updates to Income Tax Withholding Rules)

“Taxpayers who exercise their best efforts in filing their tax returns and paying or entering into agreements to pay their taxes deserve to know that the IRS is aggressively pursuing others who have failed to satisfy their filing and payment obligations,” the agency said in a statement.

2019 tax return are due by April 15 regardless of whether a taxpayer can pay in full—if taxes are owed, the IRS said.

“Six-month filing extensions are also available, although that does not extend the April deadline for paying any taxes owed.”

Mamo said that taxpayers having delinquent filing or payment obligations “should consult a competent tax advisor before waiting to be contacted by an IRS revenue officer. “It is always worthwhile to take advantage of various methods of getting back into filing or payment compliance before being personally contacted by the IRS.”

During the visits, IRS revenue officers “will share information and work with the taxpayer to hopefully resolve the tax issue,” the IRS said.

IRS compliance personnel are now working more closely with IRS criminal investigators on priority compliance issues, including high-income cases, the agency said.

For those who refuse to pay, the IRS can pursue civil enforcement actions and, when appropriate, criminal cases against taxpayers.

“These compliance visits underscore the importance of people filing their taxes this April, even if they can’t pay the full amount of tax due,” added Hank Kea, Director of Field Collection Operations, Small Business/Self Employed Division.

“Not filing because you don’t believe you can pay at the time of filing makes the problem worse, as interest and penalties mount over time. We have many payment options available on IRS.gov to help taxpayers,” Kea said.

The IRS’ “continued use of ever-changing technologies, coupled with additional enforcement personnel, would suggest that waiting is not a viable option for delinquent taxpayers.”

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