‘Don’t get scammed’: IRS warns of tax season scams

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Income tax scam warning

Utah (ABC4) – It is officially tax season and the Internal Revenue Service, IRS, is warning of tax scammers.

Most of 2020 was spent amid the global coronavirus pandemic. Stimulus payments and unemployment, along with other yearly financial responsibilities, might make filing your taxes a little more confusing this year. 

The Utah Department of Public Safety took to social media sending out their own warning for Utahns to be alert to potential scams. 

“As tax season approaches, it’s important to be alert for tax scammers. Many IRS impersonators use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a fake tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest or deport their would-be victim if the victim doesn’t comply,” the Department states.

According to the IRS, many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials in person, over the phone, and even via email. 

“Don’t get scammed,” the IRS says. They say they want people to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers in order to help people determine whether a contact received is truly from an IRS employee or if it is a scam. 

The IRS says they will initiate most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. However, they say there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business. 

These special circumstances include: 

  • When a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill
  • To secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment
  • To tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations

Even when the IRS reaches out to people, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters or notices from the IRS in the mail.

What the IRS will not do:

The IRS says they want to note that they do not do the following:  

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers, or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
  • The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business license, or immigration status.

The IRS says threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

What the IRS will do:

The IRS says they want to note they will do the following:  

  • If an IRS representative visits you, he or she will always provide two forms of official credentials called a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. HSPD-12 is a government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification for federal employees and contractors.

What to do if you think you are a victim of a tax scam:

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

Report an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or an IRS-related component like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Taxes are usually due Thursday, April 15, 2021. Recent reports surfaced that the Internal Revenue Service will delay the April 15 tax deadline until May 17, 2021.

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