Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to #avoiding #tax #scams. Here’s what taxpayers need to know to determine whether an encounter — in person, over the phone or by email — is an imposter or an actual IRS employee:
The IRS Does Not:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Demand taxpayers pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have someone arrested for not paying.
- Threaten to revoke someone’s driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status.
The IRS Does:
- In general, first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Normally initiate contact with taxpayers through mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
- Present official identification when visiting a taxpayer. Taxpayers have the right to see these credentials, and – if they would like – the representative will provide them with a dedicated IRS phone number for verifying the information and confirming their identity.
- Call or visit a home or business under certain circumstances. This includes when 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 criminal investigation. Even then, taxpayers will generally receive several letters from the IRS in the mail first.
- Assign certain cases to private debt collectors, but only after written notice is given to the taxpayer and their appointed representative.
- Offer several payment options. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not a private collection agency.
- Private Debt Collection
- Security Summit
- IRS Taxpayers Bill of Rights
- Secure tax payment options
- Consumer Alerts
- Report Phishing
- Phone Scams
Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Here’s how taxpayers can protect themselves from scammers. https://go.usa.gov/xUCSD
Some taxpayers will receive a letter from the #IRS this summer. Taxpayers should not panic and remember that they have fundamental rights when interacting with the agency.
These rights are in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Among other things, these rights dictate that letters from the IRS must include:
- Details about what the #taxpayer owes, such as tax, interest and penalties.
- An explanation about why the taxpayer owes the taxes.
- Specific reasons about why the IRS may have denied a refund claim.
Taxpayers who receive a letter from the IRS can do some simple things when it arrives. Taxpayers should remember to:
- Read the entire letter carefully. Most letters deal with a specific issue and provide specific instructions on what to do.
- Compare it with the tax return. If a letter indicates a changed or corrected tax return, #taxpayer should review the information and compare it with their original return.
- Respond. Taxpayers should:
- Respond to a letter with which they do not agree.
- Mail a letter explaining why they disagree.
- Mail their response to the address listed at the bottom of the letter.
- Include information and documents for the IRS to consider.
- Allow at least 30 days for a response.
- Reply timely if necessary. If a taxpayer agrees with the information, there’s no need to contact the IRS. However, when a specific response date is in the letter, there are two main reasons a taxpayer should respond by that date:
- To minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
- To preserve appeal rights if the taxpayer doesn’t agree.
- Pay. Taxpayers should pay as much as they can, even if they can’t pay the full amount they owe. They can pay online or apply for an Online Payment Agreement or Offer in Compromise.
- Contact the IRS if necessary. For most letters, there’s no need to call the IRS or make an appointment at a taxpayer assistance center. If a call seems necessary, the taxpayer can call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter. They should have a copy of the tax return and letter on hand when calling.
- Keep the letter. A taxpayer should keep copies of any IRS letters or notices received with their tax records.
Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: IRS Tax Tip 2018-101:What taxpayers can do when a letter arrives this summer. https://go.usa.gov/xUCSj