Please note that the following is meant for informational purposes only and does not qualify as legal or professional advice. If you are seeking professional advice, please speak to one of our CPAs.

If you’ve ever received a phone call or an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS, stating you owe thousands of dollars, it can feel terrifying. You may also find yourself wondering if you actually owe all that money, especially if you’ve been good about staying up to date with your taxes. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to discern scams from the actual IRS.

If It’s Online, It’s a Scam

The IRS will never initiate contact via email or on social media channels. If you do happen to get an email from what appears to be the IRS, do not reply, do not open any attachments, and do not click any links, no matter how legitimate it may appear; oftentimes, hackers and phishers have sophisticated ways of getting you to click on their emails, and many will not resort to blatant, alarmist subject lines.

If you do get an email, forward it to phishing@irs.gov to report the scam to help others. Even if you believe it is an authentic email, complete with the IRS logo and an irs.gov email, remember—the IRS will never initiate contact via email or social media channels. Never. You can always call the IRS for confirmation or speak to one of our CPAs if you want.

If It’s a Phone Call, It’s a Scam

Just as the IRS does not contact citizens by email or social media, they will also never text or call you regarding any tax-related issues. The IRS will never call demanding immediate payment via a specific payment plan.  You can always confirm this by viewing your tax account information online at IRS.gov to view the amount you actually owe or your payment plan.

If It’s By Mail or In-Person, It May Be Legitimate

The IRS handles all correspondence by postal mail or by physically showing up at your front door.  However, the IRS will never include anything other than official documentation in their correspondence; this is important to note as past scams have included things like gift cards to collect private information. If someone comes at your door claiming to be an IRS agent, they will have proper identification and will not demand any type of payment. If they claim to have a warrant for your arrest, note that only law enforcement officers would have such a warrant.

When in doubt, you can call the IRS to confirm any questions you may have. You can also visit the IRS’ webpage for information on this topic. Finally, you can speak to one of McAuley & Crandall’s experienced CPAs for further information.

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