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IRS Warns Taxpayers New Twist on Phone Scam

IRS Warns Taxpayers New Twist on Phone Scam:

 

The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers of a new twist on an old phone scam as criminals use telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) to trick taxpayers into paying non-existent tax bills.

 

In the latest version of the phone scam, criminals claim to be calling from a local IRS TAC office. Scam artists have programmed their computers to display the TAC telephone number, which appears on the taxpayer’s Caller ID when the call is made.

If the taxpayer questions their demand for tax payment, they direct the taxpayer to IRS.gov to look up the local TAC office telephone number to verify the phone number. The crooks hang up, wait a short time and then call back a second time, and they are able to fake or “spoof” the Caller ID to appear to be the IRS office calling. After the taxpayer has “verified” the call number, the fraudsters resume their demands for money, generally demanding payment on a debit card.

The IRS does not:

  • Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone. If you owe taxes, make payments to the United States Treasury or review IRS.gov/payments for IRS online options.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. 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.

Taxpayers who receive the IRS phone scam or any IRS impersonation scam should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site and to the IRS by emailing phishing@irs.gov with the subject line “IRS Phone Scam.”

 

(IR-2018-103) (TTT 11/6/18)

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IRS Offer in Compromise Public Inspection Program

IRS Offer in Compromise Public Inspection Program: The IRS Offer in Compromise (OIC) program is a lengthy, detail process to come to an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS to settle a tax liability for less than the full amount. The IRS is authorized to settle a tax debt on one of three grounds: 1) a doubt that The tax liability can be collected in full, 2) a verifiable doubt as to the amount owed, or 3) to promote effective Tac administration.

In the early 1950s, in order to promote transparency, President Truman directed the IRS to open for public inspection any accepted OIC for one year after the acceptance. Sensitive taxpayer information is redacted.

To view the OIC files, a taxpayer must make an appointment in advance. Files are stored at one of seven sites based on the taxpayer’s geographical residence.

(Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Report Reference Number 2019-IE-R001, 10/22/2018) (TTT 10/30/18)

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Levy – You Have More Time to Challenge an IRS Levy

Levy – You Have More Time to Challenge an IRS Levy

The IRS reminds individuals and businesses that they have additional time to file an administrative claim or bring a civil action for wrongful levy or seizure. Tax reform legislation enacted in December extended the time limit from nine months to two years.

Here are some facts about levies and the extension of time to file a claim or civil action: * An IRS levy permits the legal seizure and sale of property to satisfy a tax debt. For purposes of a levy, the term “property” includes wages, money in bank or other financial accounts, vehicles and real estate.

* The timeframes apply when the IRS has already sold the property it levied. Taxpayers can make an administrative claim for return of their property within two years of the date of the levy.

* If an administrative claim is made within the extended two-year period, the two-year period for bringing suit is extended for one of two periods, whichever is shorter:

o Twelve months from the date the person filed the claim.

o Six months from the date the IRS disallowed the claim.

* The change in law applies to levies made before, on or after December 22, 2017, as long as the previous nine-month period hadn’t yet expired.

* Anyone who receives an IRS bill titled, Final Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to A Hearing, should immediately contact the IRS. By doing so, a taxpayer may be able to make arrangements to pay the liability, instead of having the IRS proceed with the levy.

(IRS Tax Tip 2018-123) (TTT 9/25/18)

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Received an IRS letter? Here is what to do….

Received an IRS letter? Here is what to do….

Some taxpayers will receive a letter from the IRS. You should not panic and remember that you have fundamental rights when interacting with the agency. These rights are in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. (See our blog postings) Among other things, these rights dictate that letters from the IRS must include:

* Details about what the taxpayer owes, such as tax, interest and penalties.

* An explanation about why the taxpayer owes the taxes.

* Specific reasons about why the IRS may have denied a refund claim.

Taxpayers who receive a letter from the IRS can do some simple things when it arrives. Taxpayers should remember to:

* Read the entire letter carefully. Most letters deal with a specific issue and provide specific instructions on what to do.

* Compare it with the tax return. If a letter indicates a changed or corrected tax return, taxpayer should review the information and compare it with their original return.

* Respond. Taxpayers should:

o Respond to a letter with which they do not agree.

o Mail a letter explaining why they disagree.

o Mail their response to the address listed at the bottom of the letter.

o Include information and documents for the IRS to consider.

o Allow at least 30 days for a response.

* Reply timely if necessary. If a taxpayer agrees with the information, there’s no need to contact the IRS. However, when a specific response date is in the letter, there are two main reasons a taxpayer should respond by that date:

o To minimize additional interest and penalty charges.

o To preserve appeal rights if the taxpayer doesn’t agree. * Pay. Taxpayers should pay as much as they can, even if they can’t pay the full amount they owe. They can pay online or apply for an Online Payment Agreement or Offer in Compromise.

* Contact the IRS if necessary. For most letters, there’s no need to call the IRS or make an appointment at a taxpayer assistance center. If a call seems necessary, the taxpayer can call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter. They should have a copy of the tax return and letter on hand when calling.

* Keep the letter. A taxpayer should keep copies of any IRS letters or notices received with their tax records.

(IRS Tax Tip 2018-101) (TTT 9/18/18)

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Letter from the IRS? Do’s and Don’ts for Taxpayers

Letter from the IRS? Do’s and Don’ts for Taxpayers

Every year the IRS mails millions of letters to taxpayers for many reasons. If you receive one of the “friendly notices” here are some tips and suggestions:

Don’t ignore it. Most IRS letters and notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice deals with a specific issue and includes specific instructions on what to do.

Don’t panic. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies do send letters by mail. Most of the time all the taxpayer needs to do is read the letter carefully and take the appropriate action.

Do take timely action. A notice may reference changes to a taxpayer’s account, taxes owed, a payment request or a specific issue on a tax return. Taking action timely could minimize additional interest and penalty charges.

Do review the information. If a letter is about a changed or corrected tax return, the taxpayer should review the information and compare it with the original return. If the taxpayer agrees, they should make notes about the corrections on their personal copy of the tax return, and keep it for their records.

Don’t reply unless instructed to do so. There is usually no need for a taxpayer to reply to a notice unless specifically instructed to do so. On the other hand, taxpayers who owe should reply with a payment. IRS.gov has information about payment options.

Do respond to a disputed notice. If a taxpayer does not agree with the IRS, they should mail a letter explaining why they dispute the notice. They should mail it to the address on the contact stub at the bottom of the notice. The taxpayer should include information and documents for the IRS to review when considering the dispute. The taxpayer should allow at least 30 days for the IRS to respond.

Do remember that there is usually no need to call the IRS. If a taxpayer must contact the IRS by phone, they should use the number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. The taxpayer should have a copy of the tax return and letter when calling.

Do avoid scams. The IRS will never initiate contact using social media or text message. The first contact from the IRS usually comes in the mail. Taxpayers who are unsure if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov.

(IRS Tax Tip 2018-95) (TTT 9/11/18)

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How Does the IRS Contact Taxpayers?

How Does the IRS Contact Taxpayers?

Everyone should know how the IRS contacts taxpayers. This will help you avoid becoming a victim of scammers who pretend to be from the IRS with a goal of stealing personal information.

Here are some facts about how the IRS communicates with taxpayers:

* The IRS doesn’t normally initiate contact with taxpayers by email.

* The agency does not send text messages or contact people through social media.

* When the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer, the first contact is normally by letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Fraudsters will send fake documents through the mail, and in some cases will claim they already notified a taxpayer by U.S. mail.

* Depending on the situation, IRS employees may first call or visit with a taxpayer. In some instances, the IRS sends a letter or written notice to a taxpayer in advance, but not always.

* IRS revenue agents or tax compliance officers may call a taxpayer or tax professional after mailing a notice to confirm an appointment or to discuss items for a scheduled audit. * Private debt collectors can call taxpayers for the collection of certain outstanding inactive tax liabilities, but only after the taxpayer and their representative have received written notice.

* IRS revenue officers and agents routinely make unannounced visits to a taxpayer’s home or place of business to discuss taxes owed, delinquent tax returns or a business falling behind on payroll tax deposits. IRS revenue officers will request payment of taxes owed by the taxpayer. However, taxpayers should remember that payment will never be requested to a source other than the U.S. Treasury.

* When visited by someone from the IRS, the taxpayers should always ask for credentials. IRS representatives can always provide two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and a Personal Identity Verification Credential.

(IRS Tax Tip 2018-111) (TTT 9/04/18)

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What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service?

What is the Taxpayer Advocate Service?

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. An independent organization within the IRS,TAS is here to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights. TAS can offer you free help if you have a tax problem that you haven’t been able to resolve with the IRS. If you qualify, you’ll be assigned to one advocate who will do everything possible to resolve your problem.

For more information, including how to contact us, visit taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov or call 1-877-777-4778.

(IRS Pub 5170) (TTT 07/03/2018)