Unscrupulous thieves continue to attempt to deceive taxpayers. The scammers are spreading their attempts beyond federal income tax to other areas such as state income tax and property taxes.
One area that is complicating this topic is the IRS is beginning to use third-party collection agencies to collect back taxes.
Here are a few tips to thwart scammers:
- Keep your tax records current. Have a copy of your tax returns that were filed for the last four years. Make certain you have these easily accessible so you can see the results of the tax returns (amounts of refunds or tax due). Knowing that your returns were filed timely and processed assures you that there is no additional tax due.
- Keep your banking records documenting the receipt of refunds or payment of taxes due for the last four years.
- The tax agencies will communicate through US Mail, not phone calls. The only exception would be if a tax return is under audit and you’re not working with a tax professional to represent you. Most taxpayers are not familiar with their taxpayer rights. If a return is being audited I strongly suggest you have proper representation.
- When sending correspondence to ANY tax agency ALWAYS send using certified mail with return receipt. The burden of proof of delivery is always on the taxpayer. Keep the card that is returned with your tax records.
- Keep your address current with the tax agencies. If you have moved be sure to file the appropriate form with the various tax agencies or call them to provide your current address.
- Immediately open all mail from tax agencies. No likes receiving such correspondence, however, ignoring will not help! Scammers have been known to send certified mail to make it look more official. The tax agencies rarely do this and it will be regarding a known matter such as an audit or tax levy.
- Protect your loved ones! Discuss these scams with parents, grandparents and young adults. Scammers succeed using fear and preying on ignorance. Have your family members contact you if they are hit by such attempts.
Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance with this issue or any other tax matter.