Guess what time of the year it is, TAX SEASON!
Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee. Every year it seems more and more people are falling prey to the IRS Scammers in different parts of the United States, even Palo Alto County had some reports last year regarding IRS Fraud and Theft.
The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as 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 as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.
Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail. Please call the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office at 712-852-3535 or your local law enforcement agency if someone presents themselves in person as an IRS agent and you doubt their identity.
Here is a list of things IRS SCAMMERS routinely do.
1. They will contact you and demand immediate payment.
2. They will demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. They require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card or credit cards.
4. They will ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. They may request your bank account information to obtain payment.
6. They threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
These requests can be made by phone, by email, fake mailings, text messages and social media channels. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.
The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.
If you receive some sort of communication from someone claiming to be from the IRS asking for money and you feel it is a scam, be very cautious with your private information. Do not give any information, personal or financial, to them. If you feel it is a scam report to the following:
• Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
• Report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
• Report an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or an IRS-related component like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, to the IRS at email@example.com
If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to talk about payment options. You also may be able to set up a payment plan online at IRS.gov/payments
For More information concerning the Internal Revenue Service check out their web page at https://www.irs.gov/
Be smart this tax season and be on guard!