The tax filing deadline is quickly approaching which means the opportunity for criminals hoping to take advantage of unsuspecting citizens is back again. It’s such a large and reoccurring problem that the IRS publishes a list of the 12 worst tax scams of the year known as the “Dirty Dozen“. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are a few easy things you can do to determine if it is legitimate or not.
- The IRS will almost always initiate contact through regular mail and does not initiate contact by email, text message, or social media to request personal or financial information.
- The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment.
- The IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- The IRS will not threaten to bring in law enforcement.
- The IRS does not have the authority to revoke your driver’s license, business license, or immigration status.
- Payments to the IRS will be made to the “United States Treasury” or on their website https://www.irs.gov/payments.
- If you are visited by someone claiming to work for the IRS, ask to see their credentials. They should provide a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. You have a legal right as a taxpayer to see these.
If you are suspicious that someone may be attempting to scam you, you should report this activity to the IRS. You can also stay updated on the most recent scams targeting taxpayers on the IRS website. Whether it’s an old or new scheme, being aware of the warning signs and what to look out for will help protect you from falling victim to a tax scam.