Revenue Officers can't help it. They are trained to get your money and move on to the next case in their never ending quest to close the growing tax gap. Don't be intimidated, you can stop these encroachments by hiring local licensed legal representation. However, the first step has to start with you. Chances are slim that an IRS agent will tell you that you have these rights.
Here is what they often do. They show up at your house or office and say that they are here for the appointment you had with them. While you are reeling from surprise or alarm, since you don't remember setting an appointment (since you didn't), they are snooping around your property looking for easy things to seize and levy. R.O.s have jumped fences, looked in windows, snapped pictures, etc.
This is the most dangerous part. While the R.O. is paying a visit, he/she will whip out a Form 433-A and 433-B (if you're a business). This is the vital document that you will need to come up with a collection alternative. Most taxpayers will find that if they don't stop the R.O. right there at that time, the R.O. will be more interested in finding your assets than giving you allowable expenses.
This is often the kiss of death for some taxpayers. As mentioned, your collection alternatives (installment agreements, offers in compromise, currently not collectible status, e.g.) run off this documentation. Having the R.O. handle this for you is like the fox guarding the henhouse! It's a conflict of interest.
If you are contacted by an R.O. you have the right to remain silent. Simply tell the R.O. that you are going to explore representation and politely ask them for an extension of time for that purpose. The R.O.s usually respect your request, but there are some that may use pressure tactics to discourage you from getting legal representation. The most common tactic is to inform the taxpayer that lawyers and tax professionals are expensive and/or ineffective, and that you should save that money and pay the IRS. This may work for awhile, but if you pay less than you owe, the IRS will be back (usually with a vengeance).
Don't go it alone. Call a local licensed lawyer to navigate these waters for you and assert your rights. When you retain a lawyer, (with very few exceptions) you don't have to talk to the IRS anymore. Call me, Travis Watkins, at 405-607-1192 for help.