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.
Shortly after leaving the Internal Revenue Service I sat down and wrote a book to help all taxpayers based on what I experienced in their collection area. After actually being in the belly of the beast, the very heart of what the IRS exists for, I saw that they were really not as bad as people tried to make out.
In the past I had a couple of issues with them myself because I did not claim some early retirement withdrawal in which tax was withheld before I received it and I genuinely thought I didn’t have to declare it because they had to have already known about it. Oh how innocent I was! Another time I didn’t realize there was something called EIC that I qualified for because of a drop in my income. I’m sure many people don’t know any better when they are about to file. In fact most IRS issues are genuine failure to follow through because you think you are not liable to do something from filing to reporting things. The IRS will give you the benefit of the doubt if this is your first time making the mistake. One time I owed tax the other instance, they gave me a refund because of a credit I didn’t know I had coming.
Most of the time I handled the incoming calls from those that had levies and liens issued against them. That is the area that also issues these collection actions. The taxpayers are sent several notices before their cases are transferred to the Automated Collection System for further collection action. They will try to call you and send you additional notices depending how many were previously sent. If you don’t call within the time frame given, they will issue liens on any property you may have and levy bank accounts or your wages. You have to respond even if you cannot pay or don’t plan to file. It will go much better for you and the representatives will go over many options to resolve any issues you have that you probably are not even aware of. They will actually be able to stop or prevent collection against you regardless of what you owe if you are currently in a hardship status.
My book was to let people know the easiest and best ways to resolve their individual tax problems without the added expense of a third-party. It is very easy to deal with the IRS. There are not ways they will trick you or any other such nonsense. Make no mistake they will want you to “full pay today” as they are required to ask you, but as long as you tell them what you are able to do, they will work with you. Many so-called tax resolution experts are not who they say they are and most are either fraudulent, deceiving or incompetent at best. In the years I was there, we literally talked to thousands of people that were defrauded by just such people by thousands of dollars they could have used to pay towards their tax liabilities or used towards an Offer-in-Compromise if qualified. Many POA’s simply never bothered to even contact the IRS on behalf of the client that they just filled out the 2848 form with. This form states for the taxpayer not to call themselves and for this fact, they know you won’t know that they haven’t called yet until you end up with collection action on you. Then good luck finding some of them that actually disconnect their phones and skip town.
Notice how the tax resolution commercials all seem to say to contact them if you owe over $10,000. That’s ridiculous! Any legitimate expert will take your case regardless if you owe anything and work out a reasonable fee with you. These companies hope that the more you owe, the more you won’t mind paying the $2,000 or more in fees in the hopes they will be able to offer pennies on the dollar, which almost never happens. Yes there may be legitimate tax accountants and attorneys, there has to be, but don’t just go with anyone. Make sure who you are dealing with before you make any business deals or sign anything. Be sure they are referred by someone you trust and respect. There were many that were taken advantage of by relatives or relatives of friends of theirs so just because you know them does not guarantee anything.
I promise to post more information regarding tax information and resolution in short increments in the future.
See duplicate post under pogirlshines.me Tax Problems?