Halloween might be over, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get any more knocks on your front door. Polston Tax clients, along with taxpayers across the nation, have been experiencing an increase in scam phone calls and even fake IRS people showing up at their front door. Recent scammers have come to our client’s door and said that they had their wife in jail and were going to arrest them as well if they didn’t pay the taxes immediately. To avoid taking the bait and making sure you don’t fall victim to a scam, it’s important to know when and how the IRS will contact you. This can help you easily determine if this is a scam or not.
1.) The IRS initiates most contact through mail
Your first contact from the IRS will almost always be through a letter delivered by the United States Postal Service. The letter will usually tell you why the IRS is contacting you. It will say if you owe money, if you’re being audited, if you missed a tax payment, etc. If you’ve never gotten a letter from the IRS and someone shows up at your door, it’s most likely a scam.
2.) There are special circumstances when the IRS will come to a home or business.
This includes when you have an overdue tax bill or when the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment. They will also come to your home or business as part of an audit or a criminal investigation.
3.) Revenue Officers are IRS employees who work cases that involve an amount owed by a taxpayer or a delinquent tax return.
Revenue officers will come visit your house and your business and can talk to your family, customers and neighbors. These visits can be unannounced, but you will be told if you are going to have a Revenue Officer before they ever show up at the door. You will know their name and can always ask for ID if someone shows up at your door. IRS Revenue Officers carry two forms of official identification and both forms of ID have serial numbers on them. You can ask to see both IDs.
4.) The IRS can assign certain cases to private debt collectors.
The IRS will only assign your case to a private debt collection agency after giving you written notice. They will send a letter to you and to your representation if you have elected to get some. You will also get notification once your account has fully transferred. The private collection agencies will never visit you at your home or your place of business.
5.) The IRS will never ask that you make a payment to anyone other than the U.S. Department of The Treasury.
They will never ask you to pay to a prepaid debt card or a gift card. If they ask you to pay any other way other than to the treasury, it is a scam.
6.) IRS Employees conducting audits may call you to set up appointments, but will notify you by mail first.
You will get letters before an auditor contacts you by phone, so you will be well aware of if you have a tax problem and what actions you will need to take. By the time the IRS visits your home, you should be aware of who is coming to your door and what they are looking for.
7.) IRS Criminal Investigators may visit your home or business unannounced.
The investigators can visit your home while conducting their investigation. However, these are federal agents and they will never demand any sort of payment while visiting your home.
If you feel you were visited by someone impersonating the IRS or receive a spam phone call, contact the IRS and report it. Scammers are getting more desperate as time goes on and will try anything to get your money.