The IRS begins most taxpayer contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. If you receive a letter that looks official, review it carefully to see if it is actually from the IRS. We have seen many “advertisements” posing as IRS collection notices. A careful reading will usually disclose this deception.
There are circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business. These include when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, a delinquent (unfiled) tax return or has not made an employment tax deposit. An IRS employee may also ask to view assets or tour a business as part of a collection investigation, an audit or an ongoing criminal investigation.
Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters from the IRS in the mail. If you are contacted by IRS, either by mail, by personal contact or by telephone, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a tax professional to validate the contact and assist you in providing any necessary information.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, there are several things you can do to verify if the call is genuine:
- Ask for the caller’s name, badge number, and call-back number. An IRS employee should be able to provide you with this information.
- Verify the phone number. The IRS toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. If the caller provides a different number, it may be a scam.
- Ask for a mailing address. An IRS employee should be able to provide you with the mailing address of the IRS office they work for.
- Be cautious of threats. The IRS will never threaten to arrest or deport you, or revoke your driver’s license or business license. Scammers often use these tactics to scare people into paying fake tax bills.
- Don’t provide personal information. The IRS will never ask for personal or financial information over the phone, such as your Social Security number or credit card number.
If you’re unsure whether a call is from the IRS, you can hang up and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to verify the call. However, it is often difficult to get through on the general IRS information line. If you retain us to represent you, we can contact the IRS officer and quickly determine whether or not they are legitimate.