Tax Musings of a Burbank CPA: IRS Phone Scams Still a Serious Threat

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents are still a serious threat to taxpayers.

People claiming to be from the IRS or the Treasury Department say that your return has been recalculated and that the taxpayer now owes taxes and demand payment by wire transfer, gift cards or a prepaid debit card.  The “agents” threaten the taxpayer with police arrest, deportation and jail time if the tax bill isn’t paid immediately. They can also leave “urgent” callback demands through telephone robocalls and phishing emails.

A new claim is that the “payment” by those methods will be tied into the IRS EFTPS system and that the taxpayer will be able to validate the “payment” through that system after it is made.

These phone scams have been going on for years and can still be successful, especially with taxpayers who are on extension and think they may owe money and the elderly.  Since October of 2013 the Treasury General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reports over 10,000 victims have collectively paid more than $54 million because of phone scams. 

The IRS will NEVER:

* Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method like gift cards, prepaid debit cards or wire transfer.

* Threaten to quickly bring in police or the sheriff to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying the tax bill.

* Demand that taxes be paid with allowing the taxpayer an opportunity to question  or appeal the additional taxes being accessed.

* Asking for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

What to do if you get one of these calls:

*First of all, don’t give the callers any information  - hang up immediately!

*Contact TIGTA to report the call.  You can call 800-366-4484 or email

*Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission.

Thanks to the IRS and to my collegue, Kelly Phillips Erb, who has written about this for the last few years in

 Dollar Stopsign Tax Fraud For financial,  accounting and tax musings,

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