In a piece of news that will come as relief to taxpayers and anyone who’s wary of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the agency has announced that its long serving policy of turning up unannounced to collect on unpaid taxes has ended with immediate effect.

From now on Revenue Officers (RO) will only make those calls in cases involving summonses and subpoenas or if they have to seize assets. Instead, the plan for most situations will involve sending an appointment letter. Should you ignore their correspondence then they’ll put a lien on your property or penalize you financially.

The change in policy is a move to provide a friendlier service, and also seeks to address security concerns for both taxpayers and the officers serving them. It transpires that the public tends to resent being surprised by in-person demands from the IRS and increasingly that has placed ROs in dangerous situations. The IRS is also aware of the proliferation of scammers who have been able to take advantage of the old policy and pose as agency officers.

From now on if someone arrives unannounced at your door claiming to be from the IRS you can be sure that you can send them packing with a flea in their ear. You can also report them to the IRS by calling 800-366-4484 or on-line here: Hotline | U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration OIG (