IS THE IRS REALLY KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR?
Recently the IRS released updates to inform taxpayers of potential scammers pretending to be IRS agents coming out to your home or place of business to obtain your private and personal information. Phone, internet, in-person and social media scams are still on the rise and the IRS wants to help taxpayers avoid falling victim to these predators.
On occasion, the IRS may legitimately pay taxpayers unannounced, in-person visits which usually fall into one of these three categories:
- Collection of back taxes: In certain situations the IRS may make an unannounced visit when a taxpayer has a past due tax bill, unpaid back taxes, or to address a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment. They will never demand that a taxpayer make payment to a source other than the US Treasury.
- Audits of individuals and businesses: Occasionally, an IRS agent may visit a taxpayer who is being audited. Employees of the IRS who are conducting audits may call the taxpayer to set up an appointment; however the taxpayer is usually notified by mail beforehand.
- Criminal investigation: Criminal investigators who work for the IRS may visit a taxpayer’s home or place of business unannounced while conducting a criminal investigation. These are law enforcement agents and they will not demand payment. Criminal investigators carry law enforcement credentials including a badge.
It is important for taxpayers to know the reason that an IRS representative may pay them a visit and to understand how to verify the identity of the agent knocking on their door. IRS agents will always provide two forms of identification: a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. As a taxpayer you have the right to see these credentials.
A legitimate IRS representative will not:
- Demand that the taxpayer use a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer to make payment. Additionally, an IRS representative will not demand credit card information over the phone.
- Demand that the taxpayer pay without appealing or questioning the amount claiming to be owed. If a taxpayer owes any taxes, usually the IRS will first mail a bill to him or her.
- Threaten the taxpayer by bringing in the police, immigration officers, or other law-enforcement to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying. The IRS cannot revoke a driver’s license, business license, or immigration status. Scammers usually use these types of threats to trick the victim into buying into their scheme.
Recently, the IRS announced that it will begin using private debt collectors to collect on delinquent tax debt. This will only occur after giving the taxpayer and his or her representative written notice. Private collection agencies will not ask a taxpayer to make payment on a prepaid debit card or gift card.
If you are aware that you have an overdue tax debt it is important that you act quickly to resolve the issue. In some situations your debt can be reduced or eliminated, or payments could be spread out over a period of time to reduce the balance. In any situation, a professional at Hayes Financial is available to assess your situation and determine what the best course of action. Hayes Financial has a wealth of experience in helping clients effectively resolve their tax problems. If you find yourself at odds with the IRS or the state, reach out to us right away for help at 704-298-1040.