If the "IRS" is communicating with you- you'll want to know if it's really them. Here are some ways the IRS will and will not communicate with you. Stay safe.
It's a Jungle Out There
Hackers will pretend to be someone you trust in order to get information. A great way to get sensitive information is to pretend to be the IRS. The IRS needs our sensitive information and we are kind of scared of them. This means that if we aren't being vigilant and smart, we could be easily duped.
Things the IRS Does Not Do
The IRS doesn't normally initiate contact with taxpayers by email. Do not reply to an email from someone who claims to be from the IRS because the IRS email address could be spoofed or fake. Emails from IRS employees will end in IRS.gov.
The agency does not send text messages or contact people through social media. Fraudsters will impersonate legitimate government agents and agencies on social media and try to initiate contact with taxpayers.
Things the IRS Does Do
When the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer, the first contact is normally by letter delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Debt relief firms send unsolicited tax debt relief offers through the mail. Fraudsters will often claim they already notified the 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. Taxpayers can search IRS notices by visiting Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter. However, not all IRS notices are searchable on that site and just because someone references an IRS notice in email, phone call, text, or social media, does not mean the request is legitimate.
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. The IRS encourages taxpayers to review, How to Know it's Really the IRS Calling or Knocking on Your Door: Collection.
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. Private debt collection should not be confused with debt relief firms who will call, send lien notices via U.S. Mail, or email taxpayers with debt relief offers. Taxpayers should contact the IRS regarding filing back taxes properly.
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.
Keep Yourself Safe
When we are approached by a scammer they are very good at bringing down our defenses. Sometimes we get a gut feeling about scammers but we try to convince ourselves we are being paranoid (and they try to pressure us into acting quickly).
It's so much better to be safe than sorry. The IRS won't contact you via email, social media or texting. They regularly send letters first and are known to make unannounced visits. Always ask for credentials! Reference this tool to check if they are legit: CLICK HERE