IRS Agents Don’t Accept Payment Over The Phone


In recent years, many clients, friends & total strangers have reached out about getting calls ‘From The IRS’, demanding payment or a lawsuit will be filed, IRS (or police) are on their way to arrest you, or something similar unless you give them a credit card to pay the tax bill right now.  I always calm them down, explain how these calls aren’t from the IRS and are from scammers.  I’ve written posts about these scams in the past & how you can report the calls to the IRS – you can find that post here.

Recently IIMG_1277 heard something that should also ease your fears – while holding for an IRS agent and suffering through the hold music, there was an announcement I’d not heard before:  “Please be advised that IRS employees may not accept payments over the phone, only via mail, online through www.irs.gov, or in person”.  Seems the IRS has gotten the hint and are letting people know what methods may be be used for payments are made to the IRS.   Although not everyone will be on hold with the IRS to hear this announcement, kudos to them for finding a way to let the public know,

Seems almost everywhere we turn, there’s some new scam going on – it’s always good to be careful and keep up to date when new scams come to light.  Please feel free to share this post with your friends!

Please let me know if you’ve got any questions – lots of people get nervous (understandably!) when receiving a call from the IRS.  Please write your comments or questions below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge
President

Hodge Group LLC
3943 N. Austin Avenue
Chicago, IL 60634

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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More Tax Related E-mail Scams in 2016


Here we are on January 15, 2016 (as I write this post) and already have received 2 new types of e-mail scams regarding your taxes.  I tend to get a number of them every year with my business and after reporting them to the IRS (if you don’t know how, follow this link), I try to publish the info on my Facebook and Linked In pages as well as here to let everyone know.  This post will be updated as we go through 2016 with any additional scams that I personally receive or I get copies of from friends or clients.

Back on January 10th, an email from “Turbotax(dot)services(at)myturbotax(dot)inuit(dot)com” that was sent to recipients, instead of my email and the header was “Your TurboTax Identity Verification”.  Please note I don’t use Turbo Tax (copyright of the Intuit Corporation) so I wouldn’t be getting an email from them about my Turbo Tax Identity…  Anyway, the email wanted me to ‘download the attached form and follow the instructions on your sreen’ (sic).  Normally these downloads are infected with Malware and/or the ask you to fill out a form that contains all your personal info so it’s a treasure trove for identity theft…7K0A0021

The next e-mail arrived last evening (Jan 14 2016) from ‘epayment(dot)ealert(at)mail(dot)com with the subject of “YOUR TAX EXEMPTION NOTIFICATION” (their caps).  The email showed on my email program as being from IRS Tax Revenue.  The e-mail (copied below) read:

Our records indicate that your resident address has been compromised.

As a result you are exempted from United States of America Tax reporting and withholdings on interest paid to you on your account and other financial benefits.

To protect yourgeneral-icons-23 exemption from tax on your account and other financial benefits, you need to recertify your exemption status and enable us confirm your records with us.

Therefore, you are to authenticate the following by completing the attachment IRS Tax Refund Form.

Please complete IRS Tax Refund Form (attached) and click the Submit Botton, to enable us confirm your records immediately.

If your records are not confirmed on time, you will lose your tax exempt benefits and your account or any other financial benefits will be subject to US tax reporting and back up withholding*

*If back up withholding applies, we are required to withhold 30% of the interest/benefits paid to you.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us protect your exempt status and also confirm our records.

Sincerely,

Isabella Charlotte,

IRS Public Relations

 

How interesting a person from IRS Public Relations thinks I may be tax exempt because my resident address has been compromised?!!  Plus she wants me to confirm it?

Obviously another scam…  I certainly didn’t download the ‘2015 IRS Tax Refund form’ (another irony – I’ve not even filed my 2015 taxes yet!).

Be sure to read any emails carefully but don’t click on any links or attachments.  You can forward emails to ‘phishing@irs.gov’ and include the whole email so they get to see the headers, date/time, etc.

Anyone receive different scams?  Would love to hear from you – please fill out the contact form below.

Cheers!

Thomas C. Hodge, CPA
President

The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

773.237.6369

www.thehodgegroup.com

www.taxbillappeals.com – Property Tax Bill Appeals for Cook County IL

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Church members being targeted by IRS Scam


The IRS is warning church groups, civic groups and their members about a scam where individuals appear at churches and/or civil groups and get unsuspecting people to file for bogus refunds.  Mostly, the scam zeros in on refunds of Social Security taxes paid in over time, trying to transfer those taxes to the IRS and then filing for a credit. People then pay the scammers for their ‘services’.  The paperwork that is filled out is given back to the taxpayer, who sends it to the IRS and then it is rejected.  By now, the scammers have disappeared.

Identity theft could be another issue, although not widely reported yet.  If the scammers keep a copy of the paperwork (as a paid preparer is supposed to do), then identity theft could be a concern.

IRS Spokesman David Stell said, “The unique aspect of this scam is that they’re going to churches and civic groups to offer ‘something for nothing.’ Unfortunately they are very good at what they do and they’re very good at making people believe that there are credits or refunds available when there are not.”

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for the following:

  • Claims for rebates or refunds based on excess Social Security benefits. These are almost always fictitious.
  • A claim that the IRS can be a conduit for Social Security Benefits – it cannot!
  • Churches or civic groups being asked to team up with unfamiliar tax advice groups or tax preparation services.
  • Homemade flyers or promotional products that talk about tax refunds or credits being available without proof of eligibility.
  • Groups offering tax preparation with no documentation required.  This could be “No Document Tax Returns” or promises of refunds without presenting any documentation.
  • Tax Preparers pushing you to take advantage as they will ‘only be available today’.

In addition, the scammers might discuss two recently expired tax credits called the Economic Recovery Credit Program and the Recovery Rebate Credit.  Watch out for these words!  Anyone promoting these credits is suspect.

My advice is to alert your church or civic group and to keep your eyes open.  If your church or civic group has a day like this, have it video taped so people’s faces can be sent to the IRS and/or FBI.  Also, always ask the ‘tax preparer’ about their background, how long they’ve been doing taxes, where they passed the CPA exam (it is given on a state basis so the person should respond “Ohio’ instead of ‘Cleveland’).

When in doubt, take a business card (assuming they have any) and say you’ll get back to them.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day!

Cheers!

Tom Hodge