Tax season has almost reached its end and this crucial time is when identity thieves can be found lurking everywhere. As per the IRS, “Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.”
It is indeed a daunting affair, but US tax filers must remember to keep their guard up. For starters, get an acclaimed, robust tax-filing service to be your guide. Beyond that, keep the following information in mind to avoid getting scammed:
The IRS doesn’t seek immediate debt-payment over a phone call
IRS sends communication regarding outstanding debt in the form of a paper bill, to your letterbox. The agency rarely ever conveys such information via a phone call. Further, the IRS will not demand immediate payment or ask for your credit/debit card details on a call. In fact, taxpayers are permitted to appeal tax debts they allegedly owe.
The IRS doesn’t accept gift cards as payment
It is common for scammers to get in touch with taxpayers, and demand gift cards or pre-paid debit cards as payment for outstanding debts. It has been reported that scammers have been asking victims to purchase and then read iTunes gift card numbers over the phone. However, these modes of payment are not accepted by the IRS.
The IRS doesn’t threaten with immediate arrest for nonpayment
It’s true, one can get punished and sent to jail if found guilty of tax fraud or evasion. However, the IRS will never try to threaten you and will follow proper procedures in place. Look out for scammers who may attempt to intimidate you into sending money by threatening you with arrest/deportation.
The IRS doesn’t make calls to “verify” tax returns
You may receive calls from people claiming to be IRS agents. These “agent” tend to ask taxpayers for sensitive information such as personal financial details, in the name of ‘verification’. Remember, the IRS never asks for such sensitive personal information via phone or email as a way to verify your identity.
The IRS sometimes makes in-person visits
In certain situations, an IRS representative visits a taxpayer personally. Generally, this is preceded by an official notice via mail but not always. One must look for a pocket commission and an HSPD-12 card to verify their legitimacy. An actual IRS representative will only ask you to make a payment to the U.S. Treasury. You’ll be notified in advance If the IRS has retained a private agency to collect a tax debt.
If you do receive a questionable call, individuals must report it to the IRS at 800-829-1040 and businesses should call 800-829-4933. Similarly, if you receive a suspicious email, forward it to email@example.com. For more tax-filing guidance, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free 30-minute consultation.