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Why would an IRS special agent want to visit my business?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2022 | Criminal/Civil Tax Litigation |

Special agents typically represent the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. The Internal Revenue Service’s website notes the agency employs about 2,500 duly sworn law enforcement officials. Each CI agent has experience in high-profile tax and financial investigations.

CI agents may, for example, follow up on allegations of money laundering and possible violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. According to, agents have the authority to access tax-related data involving small business and corporate tax issues. Investigations regarding employment or payroll taxes also fall within their jurisdiction.

How may a CI agent’s investigation begin?

According to information provided by, a CI agent may only start an investigation after receiving information through a revenue officer or revenue agent. Individuals who you know personally or from your business relationships may also submit “tips” to the IRS for a potential review.

If the IRS flags your tax return for a civil audit, you may first receive written notices. As noted by Forbes, you may then communicate with an IRS auditor to resolve discrepancies. In some cases, the auditor may have reason to believe that a tax offense has occurred. The civil audit may come to an end, and the auditor may then refer your case to an IRS CI agent.

When may a CI agent show up at my door?

After conducting a primary investigation, a CI agent must show sufficient evidence that an offense may have occurred. Agents must receive approval from supervisors to begin a criminal investigation. If approved, a CI agent may obtain a search warrant and appear at your business. Agents have the authority to interview witnesses and subpoena financial records.

If you believe that an IRS agent has placed you under surveillance, you may seek advice from an experienced attorney. Ignoring an IRS special agent or speaking without counsel may complicate the outcome of your case.