Q: I’m concerned. I was sure I paid my income tax this year when I filed, but I have just received a call from someone saying they are an authorized IRS collection agent and I need to pay a small balance now due ($350). The agent said I should pay by prepaid debit card. What do you recommend?
- Bailey J., Private Business Owner
A: Eric James, Staff Accountant says:
The IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. The IRS will usually first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
For those taxpayers who do not owe taxes and do not have a reason to think they do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reportingweb page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistanton FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do:
- View tax account information onlineat IRS.gov to see the actual amount you owe. Then review payment options.
- Call the number on the billing notice, or
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help
If you have questions about this article, tax related fraud, taxation, or your business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of our tax professionals at 216.831.0733 or email@example.com. We're happy to help and ready to start the conversation.