Hardly a week goes by when I don’t read about people falling victim of a new tax scam. Scammers are growing more numerous, more aggressive and more sophisticated. Most of these scams involve telephone calls or emails pretending to be from the IRS. Ordinary business and individual taxpayers should be aware of the following:
- IRS does not call taxpayers to demand immediate payment over the phone.
- IRS does not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or email.
- IRS will not call taxpayers about taxes you owe without first having mailed you several bills.
- IRS will not call or email you to verify your identity.
- IRS does not call or email your to ask for personal and financial information.
- IRS does not demand that you pay taxes without giving you access to the full legal process of questioning the amount you owe and, if necessary, appeal that amount that IRS says is owed.
- IRS does not require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. Any payment method may be owed and payment plans are available.
- IRS does not threaten to send police to have you arrested for not paying taxes.
As a practical matter, I strongly suggest that a taxpayer should not respond to any collection communication from any tax entity without first discussing it with a tax adviser. I routinely provide a sort of “screening service” for these and other types of tax questions for taxpayers who wish to have a second opinion.