Ten Ways to Determine If That IRS Agent Knocking at Your Door Is Real
Some tax con artists have abandoned the phone-based scams they’ve used over the past few years. They are now brazenly knocking on doors and posing as IRS agents. Here are ten things to keep in mind if you’re approached in-person by an IRS agent.
- The IRS will initiate most contacts through regular mail delivered via the U.S. Postal Service.
- The IRS generally only comes to a taxpayer’s home or place of business when the taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, hasn’t filed a return or has a delinquent payroll tax payment. The IRS may also visit as part of an audit or criminal investigation.
- Revenue officers working cases involving delinquent tax payments or tax filings may make unannounced visits to the taxpayer’s home or place of business.
- Revenue officers carry two forms of identification. Ask for and write down that information.
- In certain cases, the IRS contracts with private debt collectors—after first notifying the taxpayer. However, private debt collectors never visit a taxpayer’s home or place of business
- The IRS never asks a taxpayer to make a payment to anyone other than the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
- IRS revenue agents that conduct an audit will first schedule a day and time with the taxpayer.
- IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or place of business unannounced while conducting an investigation. However, these agents are federal law enforcement (with the appropriate ID) and will not demand any payment.
- Always ask for the name and contact information of the agent’s supervisor. Don’t hesitate to contact that supervisor if you have any doubts.
- One of your rights as a taxpayer is to have someone represent you before taxing authorities. It pays to work with a trusted advisor such as a certified public accountant, attorney or enrolled agent to help preserve those rights.
Unfortunately, scammers are always honing their craft. By being educated about the IRS process and asking the right questions, you can help prevent them from plying their craft on you.