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Wednesday August 31, 2016

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Impersonation Scams Reduce IRS Credibility

IRS agents regularly meet with taxpayers for audits and tax enforcement actions. While IRS agents are not normally popular with the public, the large number of IRS impersonation scams is creating a new problem. Many taxpayers now question whether IRS revenue agents actually represent the government.

At the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in National Harbor, Maryland on August 25, Daron Guillot, Director of the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division, explained the problem. Some of the IRS revenue agents from his section have been confronted by taxpayers who refuse to believe they are with the Service. Guillot noted, "I have my employees being detained by police because they think we are fakes because the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, these impersonators, are so darn good at what they do."

Guillot also explained to taxpayers how they can determine if a revenue agent is actually from the IRS.

1. Credentials – You may ask the IRS revenue agent for identification.

2. Contact IRS – You may ask to speak with the supervisor of the revenue agent.

3. Incarceration – A revenue agent will not threaten you with being imprisoned if you do not immediately make a payment.

4. iTunes Cards – Revenue agents will not ask for payments on a gift card. Taxpayers may pay by check or use the online electronic payment method on www.irs.gov.

5. Installment Payments – Many individuals who owe $50,000 or less may qualify to pay their tax bills in installment payments. The payment plan is generally between 120 days and 72 months. By 2015, 322,000 taxpayers with a tax obligation of $1.3 billion had entered into online agreements.

Guillot encouraged taxpayers to consider the installment agreement. He stated, "Three-hundred and twenty thousand isn't close to what we had hoped to achieve. We would love to get to 2.9 million." If most taxpayers who owe payments to the IRS use the online installment payment service, the IRS Enforcement Division could focus on the most seriously delinquent tax offenders.

Published August 26, 2016
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