Randolph Law Firm, P.C.

Tax time brings new IRS warnings of tax scam artists

One should try to remember one basic fact during tax season, and the rest of the year for that matter. It is that the IRS, in Nevada and every other jurisdiction, does not initiate tax collections by telephone. The agency always starts its files by a written mail notification.

A taxpayer should go into danger mode when a telephone caller says that he or she is collecting taxes for the IRS. Unless you know the caller to be with the IRS, the probability is that it is a tax scam artist who has gotten your attention. Under no circumstances should one give in to the entreaties made by a telephone caller not officially associated with the IRS.

IRS agents may pay personal visits to an office, or send a variety of written notices regarding back taxes, investigations, tax liens, tax levies and other collections. Those steps are not started by telephone. Apparently, the con artists are convincing when they give their threatening spiel on the phone, often more so with confused elderly taxpayers as their victims.

They'll try to get the victim to send payment through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfers, usually under the threat of jail. Instant property seizures and deportation are other common threats. The caller may become belligerent and insulting, according to IRS reports. Because the IRS budget is especially low this tax year, you may not be able to verify anything with the agency itself.

Probably the best step in Nevada and elsewhere is to call the local police; a tax attorney may also provide support and guidance. This will be more effective if you've been able to get some information on how to track the individual. The police may also be able, with the help of the phone company, to trace a call to its source. In any event, remember the cardinal rule: if the collector has initiated a collection matter by phone, hang up right away because it's not the IRS. It's most likely a bogus call that will be a waste of one's time and peace of mind.

Source: mainstreet.com, "Someone Calling To Demand Your Credit Card For Back Taxes? Here's Why You Need to Hang Up", Eric Reed, Jan. 16, 2015

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