Can an IRS revenue officer search my premises?

Not without your consent.  

It is important, though, to understand the difference between an IRS Revenue Officer, and an IRS Special Agent (Criminal Investigations Division, or CID).  A revenue officer is the employee responsible when the IRS left a business card at your office or home, typically.  An IRS CID Special Agent is different. Special Agents carry a badge, a gun and may ask you to come downtown.  The Special Agent is excluded from this article.  Be sure to contact a criminal tax lawyer if you are paid a visit by the Special Agent.

Revenue officers, on the other hand, have been known to talk extensively to business employees while the boss is out and rummage through papers that are in plain sight on the boss' desk and they have a right to do so.  You can count on threats and intimidation in most instances.  Revenue officers compile the majority of their information from business taxpayers in their initial contact with the boss or company employees if the boss is not around. 

Now, IRS revenue officers have lots of power.  They can command documentation through the power of the IRS Summons, and they may issue liens and levy on property.  However, an IRS Revenue Officer is not a cop!  They are regular federal employees.  You still have due process and a right to representation by a lawyer.  You can stop these encroachments by politely telling the officer that you would like to hire a lawyer.  If the officer refuses your request and continues to harass you, you can and should call law enforcement authorities for trespass.        

Don't go it alone.  You don't have to.  Our clients never meet with the IRS once we're involved.  Call me, Travis Watkins, at 1-800-721-7054 immediately when you are approached by an IRS Revenue Officer.

Travis Watkins
Senior Tax Attorney