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What Is the Difference between an IRS Revenue Officer and an IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent?

Posted by Juda Gabaie | Nov 06, 2023 | 0 Comments

If you're worried about an issue with your taxes, you might be losing sleep over when and if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will come knocking on your door. Actually, as of July 2023, the IRS has ended almost all unscheduled visits to taxpayers. That said, no matter where or when you are meeting with the IRS, it's important to understand exactly who you are meeting with—an IRS Revenue Officer or an IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent.


An IRS Revenue Officer is a civilian government employee who visits businesses and individuals with outstanding tax debts to help them resolve those delinquencies. The Revenue Officer will review someone's tax filing obligations as well as what they should be paying so that they understand the requirements. For example, a Maryland-based Revenue Officer might be assigned to a case where a Rockville small business was not correctly handling employee tax withholdings.

Revenue Officers can work with taxpayers to resolve tax delinquencies by negotiating other payment plans and arrangements to resolve a  tax debt. They can also suspend collection efforts or grant tax relief for those under financial hardship.

With the new policy change, the Revenue Officer will not appear announced. Instead, they'll reach out to schedule an appointment with you, and these appointments may be in person or by telephone.


An IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent is a federal law enforcement officer, the IRS's equivalent to a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Special Agent.

IRS-CI Special Agents do not work on civil cases. Instead, IRS-CI Special Agents investigate possible tax crimes and related financial crimes that occur under the Internal Revenue Code, the Bank Secrecy Act, and other statutes relating to money laundering.

Furthermore, they investigate the financial aspects of cases involving public corruption, cybercrime, narcotics, and terrorism. Therefore, a Maryland-based agent may be investigating who a public official purchased a waterfront home from in Annapolis, while their colleague may be looking into a Baltimore drug case.

Depending on the results of their investigation, the IRS-CI Special Agent can refer a case to the Department of Justice for possible federal prosecution.

IRS-CI Special Agents are the only IRS employees who carry firearms, and they will present their law enforcement credentials when they are conducting an investigation. 


If you have questions regarding tax concerns, don't wait until either IRS agent requests an appointment to meet with you—or worse yet, shows up at your door. Maryland tax attorney Gabaie & Associates has offices in Baltimore, Annapolis, Rockville, and Columbia, and Juda Gabaie specializes in helping taxpayers with complex issues. We can review your filings and advise you on any potential civil or criminal liability, meet with IRS agents, negotiate with the IRS on your behalf, appear in tax proceedings, and more.  

Contact Gabaie & Associates, LLC today by calling (410) 358-1500 or emailing us to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Juda Gabaie

Juda Gabaie Esq. has dedicated his career in defending clients nationwide to resolve tax disputes before the Internal Revenue Service and the state taxing agencies. Juda has represented clients before the US Tax Court, Maryland Tax Court, and Comptroller of MD hearing compliance. As an adjunct prof...


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