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Scary things at your door or mailbox

The “IRS” is calling and the person on the phone says that you owe taxes.  This person offers to help you pay off this debt right now on the phone, just give them your personal banking information.  Another frightening situation is when a person comes to your door and says they are the IRS and tell you that you have tax issues.

Generally, people are intimidated by the IRS and sometimes these calls or visits can scare a person into believing a con and paying money to criminals working to take your money away from you.  How do you know if the letter, call or visit is legitimate?

The IRS is working with taxpayers to prevent criminals from fraudulently taking your money.  Here are some things to know regarding how the IRS may contact you:

  • Did you get a letter in the mail through the USPS telling that you have a tax bill? Criminals are smart, and they are even sending letters that look like official IRS mail.  You can tell if the letter is real by looking for a few key things.   Is the address a valid IRS address?  Is there a notice number?  Is the grammar correct?  Does the notice tell you which tax year your balance is for?
  • Revenue officers are IRS employees who work cases that involve an amount owed by a taxpayer or a delinquent tax return. Generally, home or business visits are unannounced.  If you have not responded to IRS notices, you may get a home or business visit.
  • IRS revenue officers carry two forms of official identification, ask the person for ID.  Both forms of ID have serial numbers.
  • The IRS can assign certain cases to private debt collectors. The IRS does this only after giving written notice to the taxpayer and any appointed representative. Private collection agencies will never visit a taxpayer at their home or business.
  • The IRS will not ask that a taxpayer makes a payment to anyone other than the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  • IRS employees conducting audits may call taxpayers to set up appointments, but not without having first notified them by mail. Therefore, by the time the IRS visits a taxpayer at home, the taxpayer would be well aware of the audit.   
  • IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced while conducting an investigation. However, these are federal law enforcement agents and they will not demand any sort of payment.