When you think about tax season, you’re probably thinking about getting your refund. But there’s something else to keep in mind--these next few months are the peak time for scammers posing as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to attack.
It’s critical to know the warning signs of a scam, that’s why we’ve come up with five things the IRS will never do, so you can know what to avoid and protect yourself from tax fraud.
1. The IRS will never demand immediate payment.
If you receive a notice or call demanding immediate payment, that is a huge red flag. The IRS will always notify you by mail if you owe money. You will receive multiple letters leading up to your final notice. Additionally, each letter will include a payment due date.
2. The IRS will never contact you by email, text, or social media.
You will be contacted by snail mail first. You will never receive an email, text, or message on social media demanding that you pay the IRS. If you receive unsolicited, aggressive communications from anyone posing as the IRS, here's how you should report it.
3. The IRS will never require you to use a specific method of payment.
There are many convenient payment options available for individuals who owe federal taxes. If you’re called and asked to use a specific form of payment like a prepaid card, iTunes card, wire transfer or gift card, hang up the phone. If you’re told you can only make your payment in full, that’s another red flag. The IRS is willing to work with you, and you can apply for a payment plan online. For a full listing of acceptable ways to pay the IRS, click here.
4. The IRS will never call and demand your credit card information over the phone.
You can choose to pay your taxes by phone using the payment processing system. However, it’s important to note that the IRS will never call you and demand your credit card information. We want to make that distinction clear. Paying by phone is optional, but it will never be forced upon you.
5. The IRS will never threaten to get the police involved.
Yes, legal action can be taken by the IRS if you neglect to pay your bill or fail to explain why you haven’t paid. But, legal action does not equal threats to have you arrested. The IRS can seize your property, garnish your wages or take money from your bank account to pay your debt. If someone calls you and threatens to call the police, hang up. That person is not a representative of the IRS.
With these five helpful pointers on hand, we hope you can protect yourself and your loved ones from tax fraud. Don’t forget to save a portion of your refund and check out these nine things you can do with it.
Happy Tax Time!
Did you know you can enter to win up to $10,000 by saving just $50 of your federal tax refund? You can! The SaveYourRefund promotion gives you the opportunity to win cash prizes by saving a portion of your refund using IRS Form 8888. To learn more, click here.