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"What if you live permanently in a foreign country and the IRS wants to audit you?"

Oh, they're worldwide.

In my day it was called OIO, the Office of International Operations. I have no idea what they call it now, but if it's like every other IRS function that has been reorganized and renamed a couple of times since I left, they still do pretty much what they always did. The one thing that has actually changed for the better for taxpayers abroad is the Internet.

There were about a dozen permanent overseas offices, each headed by an executive. This used to be much like some of the cushier ambassadorships, except in this case a reward for longtime civil servants pre-retirement. They don't really do much dealing with US citizens. Their role is more international relations.

During filing season there used to be a wave of Taxpayer Service employees who went from the US to embassies around the world to do basic filer assistance--providing forms, answering questions, etc. I would hope that with improved communications this role has been cut back considerably, but I imagine it still exists in some way.

Compliance employees are located in the US and handle most things through correspondence. They do make occasional trips to deal in person with taxpayers, but a lot depends on treaties as to exactly what they can do once they get there. Ditto for enforcement powers against assets located outside the US.

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