For most Americans, tax season has come and gone. This is not the case for Internal Revenue Service impersonators pulling fraudulent scams.
Scammers often call taxpayers and ask for some form of personal identification or a form of payment. In most instances the IRS will first send a bill to any taxpayer owing taxes via the U.S. Postal Service. Do not expect a phone call from the IRS if you have not received prior notice via the mail.
Over the phone, the IRS will never ask for debit and credit card information.
The IRS will not demand a specific payment method for a tax payment, such as prepaid debit cards or gift cards. Only scammers will ask for $150 in gift cards to your local department store. The IRS will also not demand immediate payment for any tax debt owed to the federal government. Instead, the organization will allow taxpayers to appeal or question their tax debt. Also, make all tax payments payable to the United States Treasury and never a third party.
The local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement agencies will not arrest you upon your first notice of an impending tax debt. In fact, only 2,672 were convicted of tax evasion in 2016, less than one percent of one percent of the over 100 million taxpayers who filed in 2016.
Scam artists threaten to revoke licenses and immigration status, too. The IRS cannot revoke either.
The IRS may make visits to discuss taxes owed or returns due, and may do so unannounced. However, IRS representatives will bare credentials which taxpayers have a right to see. These credentials are an HSPD-12 card and a pocket commission. The HSPD-12 card is used federal-government-wide to identify government employees.
Lastly, the IRS does not use social media, text messages or email communications to discuss tax refunds or tax debts with taxpayers.
Hurricane season for the South and Southeastern areas of the United States and tornado season for the Midwest are upon us. As such, some scam artists may fraudulently pose to help with disaster relief. Some posers impersonate charities, others may pose as the IRS to help victims file casualty loss claims.
The IRS provides a toll-free number, 866-562-5227, to assist disaster victims with disaster tax relief. The IRS also provides a list of legitimate, verified charities to help people donate and provide relief. For taxpayers, some of these donations may be tax deductible.
If you detect a scam
If you believe you have detected a scam artist, do not provide any personal information and hang up the phone immediately. You should report any calls or emails to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and forward any emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you should report any scams to the Federal Trade Commission.
To view any tax you think you may owe, visit the IRS’ website and view your account information.
As always, meeting with Tom can assist in providing you with information about possible IRS scams. He can also help prepare you for the 2018 tax season.