In order to help taxpayers avoid scams in which criminals impersonate IRS employees, IRS has issued a Fact Sheet in which it sets out the ways that it does and does not contact taxpayers. The IRS has been publishing this sheet for years to help taxpayers protect themselves from scammers and the warning signs.
Below are the legitimate ways the IRS employees will contact taxpayers:
IRS initiates most contacts with taxpayers through regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which IRS will call or come to a home or business. Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive a letter or sometimes more than one letter, often called notices, from IRS in the mail.
Reasons the IRS will call or come to a home or business:
- When a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill,
- To secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or
- To tour a business, for example, as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.
Note: All IRS representatives will always provide their official credentials, called a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. The HSPD-12 card is a government-wide standard form of reliable identification for federal employees and contractors. Taxpayers have the right to see these credentials. IRS employees can provide an additional method to verify their identification. Upon request, they’re able to provide a toll-free employee verification telephone number.
Below are the legitimate ways the IRS employees will not contact taxpayers:
- Demand that people use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. IRS will not ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone. People who owe taxes should make payments to the U.S. Treasury or review IRS.gov/payments for IRS online options.
- Demand immediate tax payment. Normal correspondence begins with a letter in the mail and taxpayers can appeal or question what they owe. All taxpayers are advised to know their rights as a taxpayer.
- Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement agencies to arrest people for not paying. IRS also cannot revoke a license or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into believing their schemes.
Collection employees won’t demand immediate payment to a source other than “U.S. Treasury”.
IRS employees conducting criminal investigations are federal law enforcement agents and will never demand money.
Scammers may, but IRS will not, ask taxpayers about refunds or filing status or ask them to confirm personal information, order transcripts, or verify personal identification numbers.
IRS does not use email, text messages, or social media to discuss tax debts or refunds with taxpayers.
If you have questions about any contact with the IRS, do not hesitate to contact a Wright Ford Young tax specialist.