Staying Safe While Seeking Tax Advice

Understanding tax issues can be confusing, especially when the required forms and information are not written in one’s native language. When seeking advice about tax concerns, make sure to only rely on an authorized business or person for help. To make sure you work with a qualified and trusted company or individual, it is a good idea to call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at 1-800-829-1040 to check the tax preparer’s credentials. In addition, the IRS has recently warned consumers about a phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. When the scammers call, victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid quickly through a preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue—if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some threats like those described above),then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.The IRS encourages taxpayers to be cautious against phone and email scams.The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages. The IRS also does no task for PINs, passwords or similar private information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.