HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT’S A SCAM OR AN IRS AUDIT?
Phone scams where callers impersonate real IRS agents working on a tax audit and request immediate payment are running rampant. In my experience, there are many clear-cut differences between actual IRS agents working on a tax audit and phony scammers; however, it is not always so easy to tell.
WHAT THE IRS OR THEIR COLLECTION AGENCIES WILL DO:
The IRS or their contracted collection agencies will inform you about the electronic payment options for taxpayers to pay their balance on the IRS website.
They will also inform you that payment by check should only be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency or anyone else.
They will be respectful and courteous to you as required by law.
A real IRS agent working on a tax audit would only give you a phone number to call that is an 800 number clearly linked to the Internal Revenue Service by a simple Internet search.
Most real IRS agents working on a tax audit will start off the conversation right when they answer the phone with their name and badge number.
The IRS will always send several notices through the mail before making any phone calls.
WHAT THE IRS WILL NOT DO:
Phony IRS agents that are not working a real tax audit and scammers will convince you time is of the essence and immediate payment is necessary.
They may tell you there is a tax audit and threaten you with a levy on your bank account or lien on your income stream or property.
They may threaten you further, telling you they are preparing a lawsuit or there is a warrant out for your arrest.
Give you a phony name and badge number, telling you to call a random number.
They will ask for payment over the phone, or on a prepaid debit or gift card, even iTunes cards.
Numerous phone scammers are pretending to be IRS agents working on an IRS tax audit. The IRS is contracting collections to private collection agencies. It will only get harder to diferentiate scams from reality. Taxpayers and professionals need to stay vigilant to protect themselves and their clients from the myriad of scams run by insidious individuals.
To report a scam, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) hotline at 800-366-4484 or visit www.tigta.gov.
Copyright 2017 Tax Strategies, Inc. Robert Greene CPA CMA