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How to know if it's really the IRS or a scam!
Nashville, Ark. – During tax season, scams seem to run rampant. This year is no different.
Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person,
over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. Understanding how and when the
IRS contacts taxpayers can help you determine whether a contact you may have received
is truly from an IRS employee.
The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States
Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call
or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to
secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour
a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations. Even then, taxpayers
will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the
The IRS does not:
If you owe taxes, the IRS instructs taxpayers to make payments to the “United States
Treasury.” The IRS provides specific guidelines on how you can make a tax payment
If an IRS representative visits you, he or she will always provide two forms of official
credentials called a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. HSPD-12 is a government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification
for federal employees and contractors. You have the right to see these credentials.
And if you would like to verify information on the representative’s HSPD-12 card,
the representative will provide you with a dedicated IRS telephone number for verifying
the information and confirming their identity.
IRS collection employees may call or come to a home or business unannounced to collect
a tax debt. They will not demand that you make an immediate payment to a source other
than the U.S. Treasury.
The IRS can assign certain cases to private debt collectors but only after
giving the taxpayer and his or her representative, if one is appointed, written notice.
Private collection agencies will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit card or gift
card. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to
the IRS, not the private collection agency.
IRS employees conducting audits may call taxpayers to set up appointments or to discuss
items with the taxpayers, but not without having first attempted to notify them by
mail. After mailing an official notification of an audit, an auditor/tax examiner
may call to discuss items pertaining to the audit.
IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced while
conducting an investigation. However, these are federal law enforcement agents, and
they will not demand any sort of payment.
Scams take many shapes and forms, such as phone calls, letters, and emails. Many IRS
impersonators use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a fabricated
tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest or deport their would-be victim if the
victim doesn’t comply.
For a comprehensive listing of recent tax scams and consumer alerts, go to https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.
Contact information to report scams and more:
For more information concerning consumer fraud, contact the Howard County Extension
Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.
The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division
Recipe of the Week
This recipe was a winning one in the recent 4-H Dairy Foods contest. Christian
Trombley made this delicious pie. It would be perfect for any springtime gathering!
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 graham cracker crust
½ cup sour cream
3 cups whole strawberries, stems removed
2 Tablespoons strawberry jam
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.