IRS Tax Tip 2022-50: Filing season security tip: Know the facts about how the IRS contacts taxpayers
The IRS has reminded taxpayers how it will and, perhaps more importantly, will not contact taxpayers.
When the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer, usually it first delivers a letter through the U.S. Postal Service.
According to the IRS, fraudsters often send fake documents through the mail, and in some cases will claim they already notified a taxpayer in this way. Depending on the situation, IRS employees may first call or visit with a taxpayer. In some instances, the IRS sends a letter or written notice to a taxpayer in advance.
IRS revenue agents or tax compliance officers may call a taxpayer or tax professional after mailing a notice to confirm an appointment or to discuss items for a scheduled audit. The Revenue Agent will typically conduct the audit at the Taxpayer’s place of business. The better choice is for the taxpayer to retain a Tax Attorney. I have all audits conducted in my office rather than at the taxpayer’s business. Note: TCO (Taxpayer Compliance Officers) usually conduct the audit at the IRS office.
Private debt collectors can call taxpayers for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax liabilities, but only after mailing the taxpayer and their representative written notice. If the amount is substantial, I try to get the matter referred to a Revenue Officer.
Unannounced visits allowed. In certain cases, IRS revenue officers and agents may make unannounced visits to a taxpayer’s home or place of business to discuss taxes owed, delinquent tax returns or a business falling behind on payroll tax deposits. IRS revenue officers will request payment of taxes owed by the taxpayer. However, they will only request payments be made to the U.S. Treasury. If someone from the IRS shows up at your home or business, get their name, telephone number and contact information. Say nothing other than you will have your tax attorney contact them. Anything you say will absolutely hurt you!
In some cases, departments within the IRS may contact a taxpayer requesting copies of documents via email and/or fax. Taxpayers should request a way to verify the IRS employee’s identity like requesting their email address, or employee badge number.
The IRS will never:
- Send text messages or contact people through social media to get personal information or collect a tax debt.
- Demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Call unexpectedly about a tax refund.