Scammers are using the threat of tax penalties or arrest to trick taxpayers by pretending to be from the IRS. There have been reports of telephone scams, email scams, and even fake letters. The problem for many taxpayers is that they may be unsure whether a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is real or fake.
Identifying Scams by Mail, Phone, or Online
If you get a call that claims to be from the IRS, it is most likely a scam. According to the IRS, most contact is initiated through regular mail delivered by the US Postal Service. If the IRS does contact someone by phone or in person, the individual will likely receive notices before they make direct contact.
According to IRS notices about scams, the IRS does not:
- “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 licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.”
Some of these phone scams claim the taxpayer has a refund coming and asks to confirm certain personally-identifying information to trick the taxpayer into giving them important information, including name, birthdate, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden name, and bank account numbers.
If you are on the phone with someone claiming to be from the IRS, you can hang up and call the IRS directly. You can also contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam through their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or by calling 800-366-4484.
Do Not Ignore a Tax Notice
If the IRS did mail you a notice, you should immediately review the notice to understand what the letter or notice is about. Do not ignore a tax notice. Ignoring a tax question or issue with the IRS will not make the problem go away. Instead, failure to address the issue can result in additional interest or penalties, tax liens, or possible criminal charges.
According to Nina Olson, now retiring from her long-time position as the National Taxpayer Advocate, “Take it from me: if you get a letter, call the IRS. If the agency doesn't agree with you, find out your rights. If you don't act, they can ramp up enforcement. I was in private practice for 27 years, and I can tell you that if you ignore the IRS, it pops up at the worst point in your life.“
If you do not want to contact the IRS directly, want to know what the notice is about, or want to know your options, contact a reliable tax attorney for assistance. Your Maryland tax attorney can review the notice, explain your options, and help you handle any tax issues to reduce your liability and avoid any unnecessary penalties.
Questions About Tax Notices in Maryland
If you think there is a possibility that a tax notice, email, or phone call could be a scam, you can contact the IRS directly for confirmation or talk to your Maryland tax attorney. When facing a tax notice from the IRS, contact Gabaie & Associates, LLC for a free consultation. Contact Juda Gabaie online or call (410) 862-2198 for help with your IRS or Maryland tax issues.