The Inside Income Service stated Monday it’s ending its decades-old coverage of constructing unannounced house and enterprise visits, in an effort to assist maintain its employees protected and to fight scammers who pose as IRS brokers.

Efficient instantly, income brokers will now not make unplanned visits to taxpayers’ houses and companies “except in a few unique circumstances,” the Treasury Division stated in a press release. The company will as an alternative mail letters to folks to schedule conferences.

“Today’s announcement is the right thing to do, at the right time,” new IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel told reporters on a call Monday.

The change ends “an era at the IRS,” he stated, reversing a apply by income officers whose duties embrace visiting houses and corporations to resolve taxpayers’ liabilities by gathering unpaid taxes and unfiled tax returns.

The company in recent times has skilled extra threats, partly tied to conspiracy theories that brokers have been going to focus on middle-income taxpayers extra aggressively after the passage of a local weather, well being care and tax invoice that offered $80 billion to step up tax collections.

In response, the company final August introduced a complete evaluate of security at its amenities. And in Could, the company stated it will start limiting employees’ private figuring out data on communications with taxpayers.

The Treasury Division’s inspector basic for tax administration stated in a report that it was “concerned that taxpayers and anti-government or anti-tax groups with malevolent intent may use the Internet or social media to track down and identify IRS employees, their families, their homes, and personal information to threaten, intimidate, or locate them for physical violence.”

The Nationwide Treasury Workers Union, which represents IRS employees, recommended the company for ending unannounced visits.

”The officers we symbolize will proceed to effectively and successfully perform their mission of serving to taxpayers meet their lawful tax obligations by way of different technique of communication,” union leader Tony Reardon said in an emailed statement.

The issue of home visits has been politically contentious this year.

Ohio House Republican Jim Jordan sent a letter to Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in March, asking why journalist Matt Taibbi received an unannounced home visit from an IRS agent shortly he gave testimony on Capitol Hill regarding his research into Twitter records.

Werfel said he thinks “the issues raised by unannounced visits, including ones that have been raised to us by the U.S. Congress, will be significantly mitigated” by the coverage change.

The company stated a rise in rip-off artists posing as IRS brokers additionally had created confusion about unannounced house visits.