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Job Description of a Revenue Officer

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Revenue officers are employees of the Internal Revenue Service who focus on collecting delinquent taxes from individuals and businesses. As with most federal jobs, revenue officers must meet specific education requirements for employment, as well as receiving on-the-job training.

Collecting Delinquent Tax Accounts

Revenue officers are assigned delinquent tax accounts they must work to resolve. They usually send notices, then attempt to arrange for tax collection, which may involve creating a payment plan. They also investigate whether taxpayers truly do lack the necessary funds to pay a debt. Their due diligence includes consulting a range of financial records to verify the claim. Revenue officers also have the discretion to garnish wages. They are also responsible for filing extensions on statutes of limitations for tax collection and also initiating administrative and judicial actions. When taxpayers fail to send a return or misses a deadline, contact from a revenue officer is inevitable.

College and On-the-Job Training

The IRS usually requires revenue officers to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, however, a combination of college coursework and relevant work experience may compensate for the degree. Revenue officers often major in accounting, economics, finance or related subjects. The IRS also provides on-the-job training. Officers regularly attend training seminars and must remain current on the latest tax regulations and codes.

Have Calculator, Will Travel

Revenue officers usually work in offices at IRS branches throughout the country, but travel is often required. They must visit companies, courthouses and even taxpayers' homes to conduct research, interview subjects, collect taxes or seize assets. The work can be stressful, since they often face deadlines, heavy caseloads and unhappy taxpayers. Most revenue officers work standard 40-hour weeks, although overtime is often required during tax season.

Salary and Benefits

The median annual wage for tax examiners, collectors and revenue agents, including IRS revenue officers, was $50,440 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10 percent were paid more than $89,630, while the lowest 10 percent were paid less than $28,390. Revenue officers receive additional benefits as well, including sick leave and vacation time, and they enjoy 10 paid holidays. IRS revenue officers participate in tax-deferred retirement savings and investment programs with matching government contributions.

Poor Employment Outlook

Employment for tax examiners, collectors and revenue officers is projected to decrease by 4 percent through 2022, according to the BLS. The number of jobs within the government often rises or falls with the annual federal budget. However, because revenue officers increase the amount of collected revenue for the government, they will not be affected as drastically.


Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

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