It is that time again, tax time! Time to report our finances to our favorite uncle – Uncle Sam. Thankfully, this year you will have a few extra days to file your taxes instead of the usual April 15th deadline. Monday, April 18th is the deadline this year due to Emancipation Day. Emancipation Day is a holiday celebrated in Washington D.C. to mark the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln freeing African slaves and their descendants.
Whether you will file your own taxes or head to a professional this year, we want to remind you to beware of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scammers. They are on the prowl and willing to con you and anyone else out of your hard-earned money. Check here for the official IRS press release.
Remember these tips to keep you from losing out on thousands of dollars:
The IRS will ALWAYS send you a letter if you owe a balance.
The IRS does not have enough resources to call everyone who owes the government money. Instead they will send a letter notifying a taxpayer if a balance is owed. This will allow the taxpayer to appeal, pay, or set up payment arrangements, if necessary. If someone calls you out-of-the-blue and informs you about a debt owed to the government, question it. Call the IRS yourself (1-800-829-1040) and investigate.
The IRS will not demand you only pay via a prepaid debit card
Americans are a diverse group and so are our finances. You can pay a debt in various ways (cash, credit card, debit card, bank account, money order, etc.). Please remember an IRS representatives does not take payments over the phone. Do not give any of your personal information including a debit or credit card number to anyone inquiring over the phone. If you truly owe a debt and choose to make a payment via credit card over the phone, you will need to go through one of the IRS’ approved third party payment processors for a small fee. They will not call you, you will need to call them. You can get this information here.
The IRS will not demand you pay immediately.
Many scammers pressure victims for payments immediately. The IRS will not do that. Some IRS scammers won’t let people even hang up the phone. This is a red flag and the IRS urges people to hang up and report any information regarding the scam to them ASAP.
IRS will not threaten to call the police over a debt
Scammer often threaten victims of arrest. The IRS will not do that. If someone threatens police action over a debt on behalf of the government, hang up and again, report their actions to the IRS/TIGTA.
The US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is the best entity to report tax scams. Please provide them any information regarding the scam to help them prevent others who may fall victim to IRS scammers.
We do not work for the IRS, but hope this article will help them raise awareness and help one less person be scammed. Be vigilant and tell your loved ones to be careful during this tax season. Their website is the best source of information if you have any further questions.
Video credit: ABC News | Youtube