A New Scam: Mailed “IRS” Notices

Something else to be wary of: Imitation IRS notices. Today I saw an “IRS” notice that looked almost real. The notice had the normal headers, and the terminology was just about right. The notice was supposedly from the Austin Service Center, but instead of responding to the Service Center the address for responding was a post office box in Austin. The real key was the request for money. All IRS notices (when a payment is due) ask for the check to be made payable to “United States Treasury.” The phony notice asked for the check to be made payable to “I.R.S.”

For taxpayers, a quick tip: If you have any doubts about the veracity of an IRS notice, call the IRS or your tax professional. If you see that the notice asks you to write a check payable to “I.R.S.” it’s phony.

For tax professionals, make sure you look at clients’ IRS notices. The scammers are trying something new, so we have to be wary. Given that two-thirds of legitimate IRS notices are wrong in whole or in part, we should already be asking our clients to forward to us any IRS notices they receive.

The one good news about this scheme is that it should be easier for IRS Criminal Investigation, TIGTA, and/or the US Postal Inspectors to catch the culprits. Renting a post office box leaves a paper record, so hopefully these fraudsters soon find their way to ClubFed.

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