Is that Really the IRS Reaching Out to You?

With phishing and other scams on the rise, the IRS recently released a Fact Sheet to help taxpayers understand how and why agency representatives may contact them and how to identify them.

Generally, the IRS sends a letter or written notice to a taxpayer in advance, however, depending on the situation, IRS employees may first call or visit with a taxpayer. Further, the IRS clarified that other than IRS Secure Access, will never use email or text messages to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. If you receive any communication that claims to be from the IRS via email or text, report it right away by sending an email to

While taxpayers will generally first receive several letters from the IRS in the mail before receiving a phone call, the agency may call if you have an overdue tax bill, a delinquent or un-filed tax return, or have not made an employment tax deposit. But even if the IRS does call you, they will not leave pre-recorded, urgent, or threatening voice messages and will never call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, threaten to immediately bring in law enforcement groups, demand tax payment without giving the taxpayer an opportunity, or ask for credit or debit card information over the phone.

Additionally, IRS revenue officers do sometimes make unannounced visits to a taxpayers home or place of business to discuss taxes owed or tax returns due, however never without previous contact by mail of their balance due or missing return. If you do receive such a visit,  always ask for credentials or identification.

Finally, the IRS clarified that taxpayers who have filed a petition with the U.S. Tax Court may receive a call or voicemail message from an Appeals Officer. However, the Appeals Officer will always provide self-identifying information such as their name, title, badge number, and contact information.

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