Tax Tip Tuesday: How the IRS Contacts Taxpayers

August 8, 2017

 

Recently, there have been several scams where criminals pretend to be from the IRS and try to get taxpayers to give them money. The IRS wants you to know how they actually contact people so you can spot a scam.

 

When the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer, the first contact is normally by letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. The IRS doesn't normally initiate contact with taxpayers by email. They also don’t send text messages or contact taxpayers through social media.

 

Depending on the situation, IRS employees may first call or visit with a taxpayer. In some instances, advance notice is provided in writing through a letter or notice, but not always.

 

IRS Phone Calls

  • IRS revenue officers work directly with taxpayers to educate them about their options to resolve delinquencies and to collect delinquent taxes and tax returns while protecting taxpayers' rights.

  • 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 Visits

  • IRS revenue officers 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, the payment will never be requested to a source other than the U.S. Treasury.

  • IRS revenue agents usually visit taxpayers or tax professionals to conduct the audit after either mailing a notice and/or agreeing on the day and time. IRS revenue agents will sometimes make unannounced visits to a taxpayer’s home or place of business to discuss a tax matter.

  • IRS criminal investigators are federal law enforcement agents who may visit a taxpayer’s home or place of business unannounced while conducting an investigation. They will not demand any sort of payment.

 

Ask For Credentials

 

IRS representatives can always provide two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and a Personal Identity Verification Credential (PIV). Pocket commissions describe the specific authority and responsibilities of the authorized holder. The PIV is a government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification for federal employees and contractors. Criminal investigators also have a badge and law enforcement credentials.

 

Paying Taxes

 

All tax payments are paid to the U.S. Treasury. Taxpayers should never use a preloaded debit card or wire transfer to make a payment.

 

IRS Employees and Contractors Will Never:

  • Be hostile or insulting

  • Demand payment without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount

  • Require a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card

  • Threaten lawsuits, arrest, deportation or other action for not paying

  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

 

We will be taking a break next week and be back with a new edition of Tax Tip Tuesday on August 22nd.

 

Disclaimer: The items included in the Tax Tip Tuesday Video Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation. IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advise contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein

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