This post is to provide some basic Internal Revenue Service information so that you don’t fall for some of the scams out there.
The IRS does make phone calls and it does send agents to businesses if you are behind in your taxes or have other unresolved tax issues.
They will not do this for any first attempts to contact you so if you ever hear from anyone by phone or email claiming to be from the IRS and you are fairly certain that you do not have IRS issues, don’t fall for it.
The recent scams sound official and from what I understand, they give people the same type of information that the IRS does. They give a name, badge number and a case number. The IRS gives this information out as well as a phone number for the taxpayer to call back if they are not comfortable speaking with this “stranger” on the phone. It’s perfectly natural not to trust someone calling saying they’re from the IRS and the IRS does not know who they are speaking to until they request that you give them your personal information including your full social security number so that they may verify this with their information on file. I urge all taxpayers not to give the person calling any information, especially a social security number, but instead take the number you are given by them and call the official number of the IRS, 800-829-1040, to verify it is legitimate before calling back! If you are not given a phone number to call back or they are requesting payment information, hang up because you know its a scam.
It’s important to remember that the Internal Revenue Service’s first attempts to contact is by mail for most problems and it is very important to respond to that first notice so that your issue does not blow out of proportion and you accrue additional penalties and interest.
Though some IRS agents and field representatives will take payments, never give any payments or payment information to anyone collecting for the IRS. The collection representatives will give you the information needed to send your payments depending on your state and how you wish to make them. If you aren’t able to fully pay your liabilities, they will be able to establish some type of payment arrangement for you. Please don’t establish one if you really are in dire straights financially and will only end up defaulting right away.
If you believe that you are in some kind of a hardship situation, let the IRS customer service rep know this so they can take the appropriate action. They will need to collect some financial information from you so they can determine if you are currently uncollectible and all collection will be placed on temporary hold.
More information can be found on this and other IRS Collection issues in my book soon to be on Amazon.com.