Know if the Knock at Your Door is Really Someone from the IRS

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Year after year, people all over the country become victims of tax scams that compromise their identity, their bank accounts, and more. Whether over the phone, via email, or even in person, you've likely encountered someone impersonating an IRS tax agent. In order to avoid taking the bait and becoming a victim of a tax scam, learn how and when the IRS contacts a taxpayer in person. This can help someone determine whether an individual is truly an IRS employee.

Need more information on common tax scams or have questions on whether or not a correspondence is really from the IRS? Contact our pro tax experts and avoid being scammed! Call us today at (412) 931-1617. 

Here's what you need to know:

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

On occasion, there are a few special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business to speak with a taxpayer in person. This can include instances such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations. Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several official letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail.

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, but there is a way to ensure you are indeed speaking with a legitimate IRS agent. IRS revenue officers carry two forms of official identification.  Both forms of ID have serial numbers. Taxpayers can ask to see both IDs.

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. Remember: 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.

Call the tax team at W Cotton Mather CPA to ask questions about potential tax scams or if you need assistance with filing taxes or handling audits. We will be happy to assist you with all of your tax preparation and tax filing needs.