Can the IRS Contact My Neighbors?

Understanding the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and IRS Communication

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for enforcing tax laws and collecting taxes in the United States. As part of this responsibility, the IRS may need to contact taxpayers to gather information or collect unpaid taxes. However, the IRS is also bound by certain rules and regulations that protect taxpayer privacy and rights. One of these rights is the right to confidentiality, which limits the IRS’s ability to disclose taxpayer information to third parties.

Taxpayer Bill of Rights

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TBOR) is a set of ten fundamental rights that taxpayers have when dealing with the IRS. These rights are designed to protect taxpayers from unfair or abusive treatment by the IRS and to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly and respectfully.

The eighth right in the TBOR is the right to confidentiality. This right states that taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law.

IRS Communication with Third Parties

In general, the IRS cannot contact third parties, such as your employer, neighbors, or bank, to get information to adjust or collect the tax you owe unless it gives you reasonable notice in advance. This means that the IRS must first notify you of its intent to contact third parties and give you an opportunity to object.

There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the IRS may contact third parties without your consent if:

  • The IRS has a reasonable belief that the third party has information that is relevant to your tax liability.
  • The IRS is conducting a criminal investigation.
  • The IRS is collecting a tax debt that is in jeopardy of becoming uncollectible.

New IRS Notices

In 2019, the IRS began sending out new notices to taxpayers informing them of the IRS’s intent to contact third parties. These notices are intended to comply with the Taxpayer First Act, which was passed in 2019 and went into effect on August 16, 2019.

The new IRS notices state that the IRS intends to contact other persons—including potentially the taxpayer’s neighbors, banks, employers, and employees—about the taxpayer’s tax liability. However, the notices also state that the IRS will not actually contact third parties unless there is an intent at the time such notice is issued to contact persons other than the taxpayer.

What to Do if You Receive an IRS Notice

If you receive an IRS notice informing you of the IRS’s intent to contact third parties, you should take the following steps:

  • Review the notice carefully to understand the IRS’s reasons for wanting to contact third parties.
  • Contact the IRS to discuss the notice and to object to the IRS’s contact with third parties, if you wish.
  • Keep a copy of the notice for your records.

The IRS has the authority to contact third parties to gather information or collect unpaid taxes. However, the IRS is also bound by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which protects taxpayer privacy and rights. If you receive an IRS notice informing you of the IRS’s intent to contact third parties, you should review the notice carefully and contact the IRS to discuss the matter.

How to Contact the IRS Operators by Phone


What can the IRS not touch?

The IRS can’t seize certain personal items, such as necessary schoolbooks, clothing, undelivered mail and certain amounts of furniture and household items. The IRS also can’t seize your primary home without court approval. It also must show there is no reasonable, alternative way to collect the tax debt from you.

Do IRS agents come to your house?

However, there are circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business. These include when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, a delinquent (unfiled) tax return or has not made an employment tax deposit.

Can you make an anonymous complaint to the IRS?

For information on how to report suspected tax fraud activity, if you have information about an individual or company you suspect is not complying with the tax law, and you do not want to seek an award. You can remain anonymous.

What can you report someone to the IRS for?

Some of the types of frauds the IRS investigates include false exemptions, kickbacks, false tax documents, unreported income, organized crime, abusive tax schemes and even the underpayment of taxes.

Where can I find help with my tax return?

If you need assistance with basic services, such as tracking your refund or looking up your amended tax return status, the IRS website also offers many self-service tools that can help. To find a list of online resources, IRS phone numbers and in-person assistance options, you can visit the IRS help page.

Can you still speak to an IRS phone representative?

Taxpayers can still speak with an IRS telephone representative if needed. “Our phone lines continue to see unprecedented demand, and the IRS continues to look for ways to help people and avoid long wait times,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

How do I get a tax notice from the IRS?

If you’re calling about an IRS notice, call the number on the notice. Navigate the IRS to find the number. Use a tax pro who has a dedicated practitioner line. Try calling the general number. Expect wait time (or even a “courtesy disconnect ”), an automated phone tree, and a representative who will probably try to divert you to

What if I can’t find the answers to my tax questions?

If you can’t find the answers to your tax questions on, we offer help in over 350 languages with the support of professional interpreters. If you mailed a tax return or letter and haven’t yet heard from us, don’t call or file a second return. Find expected wait times for current IRS operations and services.

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