The IRS issued a warning this week about another tax scam. The scammers call, claiming to be from the IRS. Since I received one of these phone calls, I thought this would be a good topic for this week’s blog.
In this new scam, the fraudster tells the victim that two certified letters have been sent to the taxpayer and have been returned as undeliverable. The caller threatens to have the victim arrested if they don’t make immediate payment through a prepaid debit card. The interesting new twist with this scam is that the fraudster tells the taxpayer the prepaid debit card is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). That, of course, is a false statement. In addition, the victim is warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney, or their local IRS office until after the payment is made.
So what is the truth?
- EFTPS is a free automated payment system for paying federal taxes electronically or by phone. It does not require the use of a prepaid debit card. In order to use the EFTPS system, the taxpayer must register for the system. Since it is an automated system, taxpayers will not receive phone calls from the IRS about EFTPS.
- The IRS will never:
- Call and demand immediate payment with a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer.
- Threaten to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand payment of taxes without allowing the taxpayer the chance to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for the bank, credit card, or debit card information over the phone.
- You should always contact your tax preparer before making payment on a tax bill.
If you receive one of these tax scam phone calls:
- Don’t give the caller any information or call them back if they left you a voicemail.
- Hang up immediately.
- Report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on their web page https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml. Or, call 800-366-4484.
- Use https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/GettingStarted?NextQID=216&Selected=t#crnt to report the call to the Federal Trade Commission. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
If you owe tax or think you owe:
- Do not give the caller any information.
- Go to irs.gov to view your tax account information online.
- Contact your tax preparer and give them a copy of the billing notice you received from the IRS.
- If necessary, call the number on the billing notice you received about the tax you owe. Again, do not call the number that called you claiming they were from the IRS.
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
For more information go to https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.