Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer

Given the number of contacts the IRS makes with taxpayers day after day, month after month, year after year, the number of (how shall we say this) “confrontations” is relatively small. Yet there are always those who hope they can find tax relief through nefarious means, including the use of force. And the IRS has fairly elaborate guidelines for handling situations involving dangerous or aggressive taxpayers, including a special PDT (Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer) classification that may be assigned to an account. See IRM 25.4.1.

The Criteria
So, what would you have to do to get added to the PDT list? The IRS has developed the following criteria, which must be based on verifiable evidence, not just hearsay:
1. Physical assault of IRS representative or family of representative;
2. Intimidating or threatening through the use of weapons, animals, stalking, etc.;
3. Participating in groups that advocate violence against the IRS where such participation could reasonably be understood to threaten the safety of a Service employee;
4. Any of the above acts committed against a government agency other than the IRS;
5. Clear propensity towards violence through acts of violent behavior in the prior 5 years;

Not only must these behaviors or acts be verifiable, but there must also be a nexus to tax administration. For example, even though a sport hunter or a professional boxer engage in behavior that may be considered violent to some, there is no relationship or connection to the collection of taxes. Therefore, a PDT designation would not be appropriate absent additional facts.

The Procedure
1. Employee reports incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA);
2. TIGTA conducts investigation and forwards results to the Office of Employee Protection (OEP);
3. OEP decides whether or not taxpayer qualifies as PDT, and if so, inputs PDT code on account;
4. Area Director over reporting employee may appeal a “no PDT” determination;
5. PDT designation stays on the taxpayer’s account for at least 5 years;
The Consequences

IRS field officers are instructed to try to avoid in-person contact with PDTs. But if in-person visits are necessary, then they are supposed to arrange armed escort from TIGTA personnel. Regular Revenue Officers are prohibited from carrying firearms or any other weapons, including pepper spray (IRM ). The IRS does not always like to disclose its internal codes and designations. In fact, when taxpayers ask if their accounts have been designated “PDT,” employees are instructed to neither confirm nor deny it, then forward the request to Disclosure (IRM

If the act(s) or behavior(s) in question do not rise to the level of “dangerous,” then there is an intermediate designation known as “CAU” (Caution Upon Contact) with its own set of criteria and procedure.

The burden of an IRS tax debt can be stressful, discouraging, even overwhelming. However, resorting to threats or violence is never acceptable. Contact Montgomery & Wetenkamp, and let us demonstrate how the pen is mightier than the sword in getting you the tax relief that you deserve.