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IRS Issues Fact Statement Sheet to Explain How it Contacts Taxpayers

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IRS Issues Fact Statement Sheet to Explain How it Contacts Taxpayers

In order to help taxpayers avoid schemes and scams in which individuals (criminals) impersonate IRS employees, the IRS has released a fact sheet (FS-2018-12) explaining how the IRS contacts taxpayers.

How IRS Generally Initiates Contact

  • Most contacts are initiated through regular mail delivered by the US Postal Service.
  • the IRS may call or come to a home or business i) when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill; ii) to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment; or iii) to tour a business location as part of an audit.

How to Avoid Telephone Scams

  • IRS employees will not make a telephone call and demand a specific payment method (i.e., prepaid debt card, gift card or wire transfer).
  • IRS employees will not ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
  • IRS employees will not demand immediate full payment over the phone (all taxpayers will be advised by IRS employees of payment options).
  • IRS employees will not threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement agencies to arrest individuals for not paying their taxes.
  • IRS employees cannot revoke a license or an individual’s immigration status.

IRS Employees May Make Official Unannounced Visits

  • IRS employees may make official and sometimes unannounced visits to discuss taxes owed or delinquent returns as part of an audit or investigation.
  • Ask to see the IRS employee’s official credentials (a HSPD-12 pocket commission card).
  • Ask the IRS employee to provide a toll-free employee verification telephone number.
  • Never make payment other than to the “US Treasury”.
  • IRS employees conducting a criminal tax investigation (Special Agents) will never demand a payment of tax.

Avoid E-mail, Phishing and Malware Schemes

  • The IRS does not use e-mail, text messages, or social media to discuss tax debts or refunds with taxpayers.

Calls from IRS-contacted Private Collection Agencies

  • The IRS does assign overdue tax debts to private collection agencies (“PCAs”).
  • IRS first sends a letter to the taxpayer advising the taxpayer’s case has been assigned to one of the four PCAs the IRS has retained.
  • The PCA will also send the taxpayer a confirming letter.
  • Other than the four PCAs the IRS has retained, the IRS does not utilize any other collection agency.
  • The PCA representative i) will identify themselves and request payments be made only to the “US Treasury”; ii) will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit or gift card; and iii) will not take any enforcement action.
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