It was revealed in a recent Taxpayer Advocate Forum in Iowa that in some cases the IRS initiates contact with taxpayers via a phone call. This initial phone call is causing confusion and potential identity theft scam concerns with taxpayers. It is now being reported that the IRS will no longer be making initial taxpayer contact via phone.
While the vast majority of IRS notifications are via mail notice, in a few cases the IRS auditor was calling to set up an appointment. The conversation would include the scope of the audit and a request for records to have available for the auditor. The IRS would then send a follow-up confirmation of the interview via mail.
Because of the increase in the number and sophistication of IRS phone scams, the telephone contact practice is being stopped.
What you need to know
Assume initial calls are scams. If you receive a phone call from the IRS without prior notice, treat it as a scam. Never give or confirm your personal information over the phone.
Hang up and initiate independent contact. If someone representing the IRS calls you, get their information (name, ID number, and location) and then hang up.Then call for assistance. Consider contacting the IRS directly so you can determine if there is audit activity on your tax account with the IRS. Remember, do not use the contact information provided to you by the person calling you.
Never ignore mail notices. If you receive a mailed notice of an audit from the IRS, open the envelope and determine what they are requesting. Immediately call for assistance.
While this policy change at the IRS only impacts a few taxpayers, the mail notification consistency helps all of us more readily identify potential scams.