In a world where scams run rampant, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with an IRS scam. For those not immediately suspicious in nature, or those individuals who are easily persuaded, phone calls and visits from a scam artist claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service can be frightening. We’re going to show you how to know the difference between an IRS scam and the real Internal Revenue Service.

The First Thing to Know

Right off the bat, be aware of this: the Internal Revenue Service knows that there are in-person and phone scams going on involving the IRS. They may visit you at your job, at your home, or even try something as impersonal as a phone call. That’s why the IRS has come up with an actual website that can help taxpayers figure out if someone is actually representing the IRS, or if they are a scam artist. Here’s the website:

Now let’s take away any doubt as to whether or not the person knocking on your door is truly from the IRS.

How Does the IRS Make Contact?

Most of the time, contact is initiated by the Internal Revenue Service through United States postal service delivered mail. Does the IRS personally visit taxpayers?

Yes, they do. Sometimes, official visits are made, and sometimes they are even unannounced, as part of an IRS caseworker’s daily routine. For the most part, there are three categories (reasons) for these visits.

Why Does the IRS Visit?

Here are three reasons why a representative of the Internal Revenue Service may visit you:

  • Investigation of a criminal nature
  • Business or individual audits
  • Back taxes collection

How Will an IRS Worker Identify Themselves?

If you think that someone from the Internal Revenue Service is at your door, how can you go about verifying their identity? Two forms of identification are always offered by an IRS representative:

  • An HSPD-12 card
  • A pocket commission

The HSPD-12 card is a reliable, secure form of identification for federally related contractors and federal employees. It is the government-wide standard. You have every right to request both of these forms of identification.

Here’s What an IRS Rep Won’t Do

The Internal Revenue Service will not do the following:

  • Make threats using the police. Do not be intimidated by empty threats such as revocation of immigration status, business licenses, or driver’s licenses.
  • Demand, without giving you the opportunity to appeal or question the amount supposedly owed, immediate payment. Ordinarily, if a person owes taxes, they will be notified through the United States mail by the IRS.
  • Demand payment using a specific method i.e., wire transfer, gift card, prepaid debit card. And they will never ask you over the phone for credit card or debit card numbers!

The IRS and Private Debt Collectors

On occasion, private debt collectors are used by the IRS to collect taxes. This will only happen, however, after your representative or you, the taxpayer, has received written notice. And, again, these agencies will not ask for payment using a gift card or a prepaid debit card.

It is important to know your rights as a taxpayer so that you do not become one of the many who have fallen prey to Internal Revenue Service scam artists.

If you’re having trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, or need to negotiate a payment plan, contact the experts at Tax Defense Partners. We’ll talk to the IRS, so you don’t have to.