IRS scams are a big concern for the Agency and taxpayers. Scammers are impersonating the IRS either by phone, email or in person costing thousands of people millions of dollars. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals. The IRS urges taxpayers to stay vigilant against IRS scams and avoid becoming a victim. The scammers may at times claim that they already notified a taxpayer by mail or reference an IRS notice to make their IRS scams seem legitimate. For instance, taxpayers ought to understand that IRS will send notices to taxpayers for many reasons and if a taxpayer does not pay its tax obligations, the IRS will start a collection process. During the IRS collection process, IRS is authorized to share the taxpayer’s tax information with tax agencies, debt collection agencies, the Department of Justice, federal agencies, people that the taxpayer authorizes to represent them, and in certain cases – foreign governments (under certain tax treaties). The law also allows IRS to contact third parties directly, such as neighbors, banks, employers, and employees, to investigate the taxpayer’s case. IRS scams performed by fraudsters who pretend to be from the IRS have the goal of stealing personal taxpayer information. IRS scams take place year-round, and they tend to peak when the scammers find prime opportunities to strike.
What the IRS will Not Do:
- Initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
- Send text messages including shortened links, asking a taxpayer to verify personal information.
- Leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening voice messages.
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Demand a taxpayer pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say they owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have taxpayers arrested for not paying. The IRS cannot revoke a driver’s license, business license or immigration status.
- Call a taxpayer about an unexpected refund.
What the IRS Will Do:
- Send letters or written notices to a taxpayer in advance. Taxpayers first receive several letters from the IRS in the mail before receiving a phone call.
- Call or come to a home or business if a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business, as part of an audit or during a criminal investigation.
- When performing an in-person visit, request payment of taxes owed by the taxpayer. Payment is always payable to the U.S. Treasury.
- Make an official and “unannounced” visit to a taxpayer’s home or place of business to discuss taxes owed or tax returns due in which case a taxpayer should ask for two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and a Personal Identity Verification Credential.
- Call a taxpayer or tax professional after mailing a notice to confirm an appointment or to discuss items for a scheduled audit.
Avoid IRS Scams by knowing the facts on how IRS contacts taxpayers. ©