As the end of the year approaches, many Connecticut residents are considering what their tax situation will look like when it comes time to file their federal income tax returns. As such, it may be a good time to review how the IRS contacts individuals who have tax issues.
The fact is that there are people who would take advantage of you given the chance. Fraudsters know that people tend to fear what the nation’s taxing authority could do to their financial situations if they can’t pay their taxes, so they take advantage of that anxiety for their own financial gain. You can avoid becoming the victim of such a con artist by better understanding how the IRS contacts and communicates with individuals.
Know what the IRS will not do
It seems prudent to first look at how the IRS does not deal with individuals. If someone claiming to be with the agency does any of the following, that individual may be attempting to defraud you:
- The IRS will not make threats to your freedom. Its agents will not threaten to call immigration, the police or any other law enforcement agency if you don’t pay immediately.
- The IRS cannot revoke your business license, your immigration status or your driver’s license.
- The agency will not call you demanding payment. Agents will not require you to make payments via wire transfer, gift cards or prepaid debit cards.
- An agent will not contact you demanding payment without advising you of your rights or denying you the opportunity to appeal its decision.
In fact, the IRS ordinarily begins all communications with taxpayers via mail. Only after sending notices and letters through the mail will the agency consider any other type of communication.
How the IRS does handle communications with taxpayers
The first thing you should know about in-person communications with an IRS agent is that he or she will show you official credentials, which you should not hesitate to ask to view. You may even contact the IRS to verify the agent’s identity before entering into any discussions with him or her. If someone fails to provide credentials or does not allow you to verify his or her identity, the person may not actually represent the agency.
At times, IRS agents will show up in person or call to speak with you. In other cases, the contact may be from an IRS approved collection agency. In any case, you should feel free to take steps to verify the contact is actually coming from the agency.
What if it is actually the IRS calling?
If you verify the identity of the individual as a legitimate IRS agent, you now have another issue. You have rights, and you may want to take steps to protect yourself. Consulting with a tax attorney could help ensure that you receive fair treatment and that you actually owe what the agency claims you do.