Tax Tip 2019-24: Phony IRS calls increase during filing season



Issue Number: Tax Tip 2019-24


Phony IRS calls increase during filing season
The tax filing season is a busy time for taxpayers, but scammers also stay busy. Taxpayers should be aware of several types of tax scams, but phone scams start to increase during the beginning of tax season and then remain active throughout the remainder of the year. Here's how this scam generally works:
  • Scammers impersonating the IRS call taxpayers telling them they owe taxes and face arrest if they don't pay.
  • The scammer may leave a message asking taxpayers to call back to clear up a tax matter or face arrest.
  • When taxpayers call back, the scammers often use threatening and hostile language.
  • The thief demands that the taxpayers pay their tax debts with a gift card, other pre-paid cards or a wire transfer.
Taxpayers who receive these phone calls should:
  • Hang up the phone immediately.
  • Report the call to TIGTA using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form or by calling 800-366-4484.
  • Report the number to phishing@irs.gov; put "IRS Phone Scam" in the subject line.
Taxpayers should remember that the IRS does not:
  • Call taxpayers demanding immediate payment using a specific payment method. Generally, the IRS first mails a bill to the taxpayer.
  • Threaten to have taxpayers arrested for not paying taxes.
  • Demand payment without giving taxpayers an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
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