Is that really the IRS knocking on your door? The IRS recently announced its revenue officers would make unannounced, in-person visits to taxpayers with compliance issues. The problem is, scammers got the word as well.
To help alleviate concerns about the possibility of scammers posing as IRS agents, the IRS issued an announcement to notify the public about the practice.
“The IRS routinely conducts these face-to-face visits,” the announcement states. “The primary factors of these visits are to make contact with taxpayers who have a previously known tax issue that wasn't resolved through mail contact. The first face-to-face contact from a revenue officer is almost always unannounced.”
The IRS encouraged people to find out how to protect themselves against scammers posing as IRS agents.
IRS Agent or a Scammer? The Basics
The IRS notes that, “When an agent visits a taxpayer, he or she will always provide two forms of official credentials with a serial number and a photo. Taxpayers have the right to see both of these credentials.” As professional civil employees, revenue officers should always be able to show authentic credentials prior to entering your home. Of course, dedicated criminals can find ways to fabricate these.
Though individual visits are often unannounced, the IRS says it will try to notify the community via physical mail of the general areas in which they’ll be conducting in-person visits. These notifications are intended to help avoid confusion and concern when IRS agents arrive at local doorsteps.
It is also important to note that, “The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.”
If a revenue officer comes to your door, the purpose should be to provide information about how to understand and meet your tax obligations. The officer may also need to gather financial information from you and may offer compliance assistance. However, you should never feel forced to give private information, and an actual IRS representative should never threaten you or demand payment. The revenue officer should offer you legal options to make any payments you may owe and respect your rights as a taxpayer.
If you suspect you have been approached as part of a scam, report the incident immediately. You can find more information on making these reports here.
If you have questions about your taxes, compliance and related concerns, contact a Weaver professional; we’re here to help.
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