From the Desk of Michael T. McCormick
IRS Addresses Phone Scammers
Taxpayers across the country have been plagued with telephone scammers alleging to be from IRS threatening “lawsuits” and advising victims to get cash cards to pay fictitious tax debt. Some of these callers are very good and have victimized thousands of innocent taxpayers. As I tell all of my clients, the IRS would never use the term “lawsuit”! If your tax situation involved criminal behavior, the term they would use would be indict. The IRS does not take indictments lightly and only in criminal fraud cases would such a hammer be used. If you were going to be indicted by the IRS, you would know about it. This would never be threatened in a blind call.
In addition, as a general statement, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone. For the most part, IRS revenue agents and officers do not take this type of aggressive approach unless warranted by taxpayer behavior…certainly not as a first contact. I can’t stress enough that IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers blind. Your first contact will be by mail after which you will have ample time to contact a professional to represent you. You should never deal with the IRS alone and certainly not as a result of an initial contact by phone. Lastly, IRS agents would never ask you to submit payment directly to them. Only after adequate investigation and frequently with taxpayer agreement would they send a separate notice indicating what you owe, interest thereon and any corresponding penalties.
The IRS has finally taken action against some of these phone scammers by arresting 5 individuals operating out of Miami Florida allegedly impersonating IRS officials. The indictment claims that these individuals were responsible for defrauding up to 1500 individuals out of close to two million dollars! It would appear that IRS is getting serious about tracking down, investigating and prosecuting those that prey on innocent taxpayers in these hostile phone scams. Hopefully this is a good sign that this massive nationwide problem is being addressed by the Service. This won’t end the problem as many of these folks operate off shore, but it is a good message to send to these criminals that the Government is taking this seriously and does not view this as a victimless crime.