How Does the IRS Contact You?
Is the IRS really calling or at your business?
We all have that moment where our heart drops into our stomach when we are notified that the IRS is on the other line. Before everything stops for a moment in time, ask yourself, “How do you really know it is the IRS calling?”
In the last few months people have made reports of people impersonating the IRS using mediums such as email, telephone and in-person. While some of these means may be legitimate, the IRS normally communicates through the United States Postal Service. If the IRS calls or comes to your business, they will normally communicate via USPS first several times and will be for a circumstance such as an overview tax bill, part of an audit or during a criminal investigation.
If you do get contacted by the IRS, consider the following things that the IRS does not do:
- Ask you to use a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer to pay your tax bill.
- Ask for your debit or credit card number over the phone.
- Require you to pay your taxes without questioning or appealing the amount you owe. (Remember, you should have received a bill in the mail first.)
- Threaten to have you arrested or include police or immigration in the process.
- Threaten to take away your driver’s license or business license.
- Have you pay to anything other than the “United States Treasury.”
If someone does come to your place of business, ask them to provide two forms of official credentials called a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. You can ask them for their credentials.
If you are contacted by a scammer, please contact the IRS and report it:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
- Report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
- Report an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or an IRS-related component like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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