We recently heard of a new twist on an old scam where fraudsters call up victims and threaten to cancel their Social Security number if they don’t pay their taxes.
These scammers claim that they can suspend or cancel a victim’s SSN in an attempt to frighten people into returning ‘robocall’ voicemails. They will often mention overdue taxes in addition to threatening to cancel the person’s SSN. They will likely ask for personal information and may want to ‘verify’ your SSN. If you should receive a call like this, you should just hang up.
The IRS has begun using private collection agencies to help collect tax debts, which has been extremely frustrating for tax preparers. We used to be able to say that the IRS would never call a taxpayer unless they had first established communication via letters and, in some cases, assigned a revenue agent to the taxpayer’s case.
Now, there are some calls from collection agencies to taxpayers with overdue tax bills but the IRS says the agencies will never demand immediate payment and will never ask for payment via prepaid debt cards, iTunes cards or wire transfers. (One of our clients received a call like this and was asked to make a payment at Walmart??) Similarly, official IRS collection agencies will never ask a taxpayer to make a payment to a person or organization other than the US Treasury and will never threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer immediately arrested for non-payment.
Also, a legitimate request for payment always allows the taxpayer to question or appeal the amount owed.
If you have received one of these calls, you can report the caller ID and callback number to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/ . You can also send that same info to the IRS by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org and write IRS Phone Scam in the subject line.
If you think you owe taxes, you can view your account through a secure login at https://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account . You should be able to see your account balance and review payment options as well at this site.
Alternatively, call the number on your IRS billing notice or call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.
If you are think you really owe money and want to discuss your options, give us a call here at AFS. We can provide a free consultation and help you in preparing prior year tax returns, installment plans, offers in compromise, etc.
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