Scam Alert: There has been a significant increase in the number of telephone scams in which individuals who claim to be IRS agents call taxpayers and demand immediate payment, often threatening arrest or lawsuits. These calls are fraudulent and are designed to scare you into making a payment over the phone. If you receive a call like this, do not provide any personal or credit card information. Make a note of the incoming phone number and report the scam to the Department of the Treasury.
No federal agency, including the IRS, will call you demanding immediate payment or personal information. If the IRS or any federal agency believes that you owe taxes, you will receive written notice mailed to your home.
In the digital age, we are all at risk of online scams that seek to steal personal information.
One of the most common scams uses the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to steal information. In fact, many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials-either in person, on the phone, or via email-that directly ask for this information, many times targeting senior citizens. Don’t let yourself get scammed!
Check out the information below to keep yourself, and your personal information, safe.
Always remember, the IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
1. Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
2. Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
3. Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe taxes:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
To report a scam, hang up immediately-then:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Or use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
I also want to warn you against a new scam, where scammers are now telling people over the phone, they were mailed certified notices that were returned because the scammers recognize we are telling taxpayers that IRS will not call before mailing letters. During the call, the scammer threatens arrest. Please know that the first contact you receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.
Please use this information to keep yourself and your family
The IRS website is a valuable source of information and can often provide answers to many basic questions. Below is a sampling of the most frequent questions that I receive:
Where can I get IRS forms?
There are two ways that you can obtain tax forms and instructions from the IRS:
You can download and print the forms and instructions through the IRS website at: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs.
You can request that tax forms and instructions be mailed to you by completing the online order form or by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 or 1-8000-829-4059 for the hearing impaired.
Taxpayer Assistance for low income and elderly taxpayers:
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) – a program that assists low-income individuals who have a tax dispute with the IRS. LITCs can represent you before the IRS or in court on audits, appeals, tax collection matters and other tax disputes. Also provides services to taxpayers who are who speak English as a second language (ESL). LITC services are free or low cost for eligible taxpayers.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) -- offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS – certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electron filing to qualified individuals.
Tax Counsel for the Elderly (TCE) – offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers
Who can I talk to about problems like liens, back taxes, penalties, etc.?
Call the Taxpayer Advocate 24-Hour Toll-Free Hotline: 1-877-777-4778.
Call the IRS Customer Service Line: 1-800-829-1040 (for individuals) or 1-800-829-4933 (businesses).
Schedule an appointment online with at the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or by phone at 1-844-545-5640.My staff is always available to assist you with issues that you may be experiencing with the IRS. If you cannot find the answer to your questions through these links or would like my office to contact the IRS on your behalf, please complete my privacy release form and send it back to my district office. My staff will be happy to provide you with all possible assistance.