Note that the IRS will never…
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say they owe you.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Private Debt Collection
- The IRS began a new private collection program of certain overdue federal tax debts selecting four contractors to implement it.
- The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA). First, the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518. What you can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Agency.
- Only four private groups are participating in this program: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, NY; Performance of Livermore, Calif; and Pioneer of Horseheads, NY. The taxpayer’s account will only be assigned to one of these agencies, never to all four. No other private group is authorized to represent the IRS.
Some of the Most Prevalent IRS Impersonation SCAMS Include
- Requesting fake tax payments: The IRS has seen automated calls where scammers leave urgent callback requests telling taxpayers to call back to settle their “tax bill.” These fake calls generally claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. Taxpayers may also receive live calls from IRS impersonators. They may demand payments on prepaid debit cards, iTunes and other gift cards or wire transfer. The IRS reminds taxpayers that any request to settle a tax bill using any of these payment methods is a clear indication of a scam.
- Targeting students and parents and demanding payment for a fake “Federal Student Tax.”: Telephone scammers are targeting students and parents demanding payments for the fictitious taxes, such as the Federal Student Tax.” If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.
- Sending a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to Affordable Care Act: The IRS received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of a CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email or letter that includes the fake CP2000. The notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to the ‘I.R.S.” to the Austin Processing Center at a Post Office Box Address.
- Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals: Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of phishing email schemes that pretend to be from company executives and request personal information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In the scam, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of the employees and financial and personal information including Social Security Numbers.
- Imitating software providers to trick tax professionals: Tax professionals may receive emails pretending to be from software companies. The email scheme requests the recipient download and install and important software via a link included in their email. Upon completion, tax professionals believe they have downloaded a software update when in fact they have loaded a program designed to track the tax professional’s key strokes, which is a common tactic used by cyber thieves to steal login information, passwords and other sensitive data.
- “Verifying” tax return information over the phone: Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, saying they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as SSN or personal financial information, including bank account numbers or credit cards.
- Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry: The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topic. E-mails or text messages can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.