It’s been nearly two months since the federal income tax filing deadline passed, and a number of taxpayers have yet to complete and file their 2016 returns. While many have requested and have been granted extensions, there are some who live in fear of the IRS pursuing them for money they may not currently have. Indeed, collection actions for back taxes may come eventually if taxes aren’t paid, but this possibility unfortunately serves as the backdrop for fraud.
According to a recent accountingtoday.com article, the IRS issued a new warning cautioning taxpayers about a new scam where criminals make phone calls demanding payment of back taxes. While these types of scams are common, the newest version involves a caller claiming to be an IRS employee indicating that two previous collection letters have been sent to the taxpayer (when they have not), and threatens to arrest the taxpayer if payment isn’t made through a debit card. The fraudster also warns the taxpayer not to contact their tax preparer, their attorney or their local IRS office until after making the payment.
Indeed, this version of the tax scam includes a diabolical twist, but taxpayers should be wary of any direction (from any random caller) not to contact their attorney or a government entity to verify the existence of tax debt. After all, the IRS will only send correspondence through the mail, and will never initiate contact over the phone or through email.
With that, a taxpayer should never be intimidated over the phone.
The preceding is not legal advice.