“The IRS called me today and told me that I owe them money and I need to pay them TODAY!! I thought my taxes were current!!”
I’ve received more client phone calls recently with this concern. They’re concerned that the IRS is coming for them and they are about to lose everything they’ve worked for.
I stress to them NOT to pay these people anything – it is not the IRS calling.
Please do not listen to them. They know how to play on your fears, their caller ID will show US Gov’t.
Have you been a victim of these tactics from IRS scammers?
Do you know how to determine if it is the IRS calling?
Does your accounts payable / finance officer know not to pay such a request?
The following information is from the IRS on how an individual or business is contacted by the IRS. Please share this information with those in your company who have the responsibility of handling your tax payments or payables.
- The IRS doesn’t normally initiate contact with taxpayers by email.
- The agency does not send text messages or contact people through social media.
- When the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer, the first contact is normally by letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Fraudsters will send fake documents through the mail, and in some cases will claim they already notified a taxpayer by U.S. mail.
- Depending on the situation, IRS employees may first call or visit with a taxpayer. In some instances, the IRS sends a letter or written notice to a taxpayer in advance, but not always.
- IRS revenue agents or tax compliance officers may call a taxpayer or tax professional after mailing a notice to confirm an appointment or to discuss items for a scheduled audit.
- Private debt collectors can call taxpayers for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax liabilities, but only after the taxpayer and their representative have received written notice.
- IRS revenue officers and agents routinely make unannounced visits to a taxpayer’s home or place of business to discuss taxes owed, delinquent tax returns or a business falling behind on payroll tax deposits. IRS revenue officers will request payment of taxes owed by the taxpayer. However, taxpayers should remember that payment will never be requested to a source other than the U.S. Treasury.
- When visited by someone from the IRS, the taxpayers should always ask for credentials. IRS representatives can always provide two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and a Personal Identity Verification Credential.
Note that the IRS does not:
- Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
- Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
- Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.
If you owe taxes:
The IRS instructs taxpayers to make payments to the “United States Treasury.” The IRS provides specific guidelines on how you can make a tax payment at irs.gov/payments.
IRS collection employees may call or come to a home or business unannounced to collect a tax debt. They will not demand that you make an immediate payment to a source other than the U.S. Treasury.
The IRS can assign certain cases to private debt collectors but only after giving the taxpayer and his or her representative, if one is appointed, written notice. Private collection agencies will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit card or gift card. Taxpayers can learn about the IRS payment options on irs.gov/payments. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency.
IRS employees conducting audits may call taxpayers to set up appointments, but not without having first notified them by mail. After mailing an official notification of an audit, an auditor/tax examiner may call to discuss items pertaining to the audit.
IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced while conducting an investigation. However, these are federal law enforcement agents and they will not demand any sort of payment.
Beware of Impersonations
Scams take many shapes and forms, such as phone calls, letters and emails. Many IRS impersonators use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a fabricated tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest or deport their would-be victim if the victim doesn’t comply.
Do not become a victim of an IRS scam. Be informed and inform your staff. Never call a number given to you by an individual posing as the IRS. Look up the number yourself and talk with an IRS representative about your account. The new scam is to give you a number to call to authenticate their demand.
Don’t believe it – investigate.