From time to time the IRS issues consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to taxpayers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets so everyone should know how the IRS contacts taxpayers.
When identity theft takes place over the Internet, it is called phishing. Phishing (as in “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims) is a scam where Internet fraudsters send e-mail messages to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal the victims’ identity. Current scams include phony e-mails which claim to come from the IRS and which lure the victims into the scam by telling them that they are due a tax refund.
Key Facts About How The IRS Communicates With Taxpayers:
- The IRS does not normally initiate contact with taxpayers by email.
- The IRS 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 most instances, the IRS sends a letter or written notice to a taxpayer in advance.
- 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.
- IRS has contracted with selected private debt collectors who 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, taxpayers should always ask for credentials. IRS representatives can always provide two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and an IRS Personal Identity Verification Credential.
Contacting IRS To Report Fraudulent Scams
Taxpayers who receive the IRS phone scam or any IRS impersonation scam should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site and to the IRS by emailing email@example.com with the subject line “IRS Impersonation Scam.”
What You Should Do If You Really Do Have Tax Issues?
The tax attorneys of the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. located in Orange County (Irvine), San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Walnut Creek) and elsewhere in California know exactly what to say and how to handle issues with the IRS as well as State Tax Agencies. Our experience and expertise not only levels the playing field but also puts you in the driver’s seat as we take full control of resolving your tax problems.