Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday it will step up efforts to collect back taxes from wealthier Americans who haven't filed returns for years.
The IRS said the new effort will start with in-person visits to high-income earners who didn't file a return for 2018. It said the goal is to bring delinquent taxpayers current and inform them of their options.
"The IRS is committed to fairness in the tax system, and we want to remind people across all income categories that they need to file their taxes," said Paul Mamo, director of collections for small businesses and the self-employed.
Some visits will be scheduled and others will be unannounced, the IRS noted, and agents will verify their presence with two forms of identification.
"These visits focusing on high-income taxpayers will be taking place across the country. We want to ensure taxpayers know their options to get right with their taxes and avoid bigger issues later," Mamo added.
IRS field collection manager Hank Kea said the agency plans to make about 800 visits in the first phase of the campaign.
The IRS said the "tax gap" -- the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid on time -- averaged $441 billion between 2011 and 2013.