BE AWARE OF IRS SCAM ARTISTS: HOW THE IRS COMMUNICATES WITH TAXPAYERS WHEN THEY HAVE UNPAID TAXES
If you owe back taxes, it’s important to not get taken by scam artists who want to take your money so it’s essential to know how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. Below are some basic tips from the IRS
- The IRS does not normally contact taxpayers by email. The IRS email address could be faked, therefore, do not reply to any emails that claim to be from the IRS. Emails from IRS employees will always end with IRS.gov.
- The IRS will never send you a text message or a message through social media. Scam artists will portray themselves to be official government agents and agencies.They will try to initiate contact with taxpayers on social media or through text messages.
- If the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer they will normally try by sending a letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Many times debt relief firms will send unsolicited tax debt relief offers through the U.S. Postal Service. Scam artists will claim they already notified you, the taxpayer, through the U.S. Mail.
- Oftentimes, an IRS employee will first call or visit your home or business to speak with a taxpayer. Occasionally, the taxpayer will receive a letter or written notice sent by the IRS in advance, but not always. By visiting Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter, taxpayers can search IRS notices. With that being said, not all IRS notices are searchable on that site and just because someone mentions an IRS notice in a phone call, text, social media or email, it does not indicate that the request is legitimate.
- IRS employees or tax auditors/examiners, after mailing a notice, may call a taxpayer or tax professional to discuss items relating to a scheduled audit or to confirm an appointment. The IRS urges taxpayers to review, How to Know it’s Really the IRS Calling or Knocking on Your Door.
- Taxpayers can get calls for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax liabilities from private debt collectors, but only after a written notice has been received by the taxpayer and their representative. Debt relief firms will call, send lien notices via the U.S. Mail, or will email taxpayers with debt relief offers, they should not be confused with private debt collectors. To file back taxes properly taxpayers should contact the IRS.
- Unannounced visits are normally made by IRS employees or tax auditors/examiners to the taxpayer’s home or place of business to discuss taxes owed, overdue tax returns or a business that has fallen behind on payroll tax deposits. IRS tax officers will request that the taxpayer pay the overdue taxes. However, that payment should never be paid to anyone other than the U.S. Treasury.
- The taxpayers should always ask for credentials when visited by anyone from the IRS. IRS employees will and should always provide two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Credential.
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