The Internal Revenue Service recently delivered an Information Release on their website (irs.gov) to help guide taxpayers in determining whether someone claiming to an Agent or Collector is truly that or is an impostor. At their website, they have a handy printable infographic to help.
There has been a rash of impostors attempting to take advantage of unwitting taxpayers and the IRS wants taxpayers to understand the methods in which IRS gets ahold of those owing back taxes or requiring amendments in an effort to help them breathe easy when confronted with many of these conmen. THe IRS will typically make first contact with taxpayers through the US Postal Service and an appearance by a casework at your home will never be without an attempt being made by mail. In-person calls to the taxpayer will generally fall into these categories:
- Delinquent Returns / Back Taxes: An IRS Agent, may in certain instances visit those owing back taxes or those with delinquent tax returns at their home or office simply to talk about what’s owed to or needed by the IRS. They will never demand payment in the moment to anywhere other that the United States Treasury.
- Audits: IRS revenue agents may visit those taxpayers who are under audit. It’s likely that an IRS Agent will call to set up an appointment to discuss the matters surrounding an audit, but never before contact is made or attempted by mail.
- Criminal Investigation: Federal investigators from the IRS may visit unannounced through the course of the investigation. These investigators will never ask for payment and will carry the credentials (like a badge) of a law enforcement agent.
- Official IRS Docs: If you’re visited by a representative of the IRS, you will be provided with two forms of official credentials. These are called a “pocket commission” and an HSPD-12 card. The latter is a governmental standard of secure and safe ID for employees and contractors of the federal government.
IRS Agents Will Never do the Following:
- Demand a specific type of payment.
- Ask for debit or gift cards numbers by phone.
- Demand payment without allowing the opportunity to argue the true price owed to the IRS.
- Threaten arrest or calling other law enforcement.
- Revoke a taxpayer’s driver’s license, business license, or immigration status.
Private Debt Collectors:
The IRS is beginning to use more private debt collection agencies. However, the IRS will provide written notice of transference of debt to a private collection agency. Like the IRS, private collection agencies will never require payment via debit of gift card. You can learn about accepted methods of payments by visiting irs.gov/payments. Check payment must be made out to the United States Treasury and never in the name of the agency or any other organization.