Activate Center Back Taxes Scam Alert

Activate Center Back Taxes Scam Alert

People in dire need of assistance in paying off their outstanding tax debt to the Internal Revenue Service are falling victim to scams perpetrated by unscrupulous businesses and legal firms.

The first payment for these services is often rather substantial, often reaching into the hundreds of dollars. They assure customers that they may end IRS collection actions and settle any issues with the agency. Many times, unscrupulous businesses take the advance payment but never offer the tax savings that was promised.

Rather, they either give up trying to settle the past tax bill after repeatedly asking the same papers from customers or the IRS denies their attempts. Some businesses never even bother to ask the IRS to settle the obligation. Furthermore, customers often find that these businesses do not honour their requests to return the advance charge.

Be wary of claims that seem too wonderful to be true. If you want to know how to spot a tax debt relief scam, the IRS has some advice:

  • First, try to resolve your problem directly with the IRS. Call the number on your IRS notice and ask about collection alternatives. You may be eligible for a monthly payment plan, or you may be able to pay less than the amount you owe.
  • Don’t ignore the notices the IRS sends you.  The problem won’t go away.
  • Don’t trust a company’s claim that you have “qualified” or are “eligible” for an IRS program to resolve your back tax debt. Only the IRS can make that determination.
  • Be cautious about services that ask for payment in advance.

If you can’t resolve your problem with the IRS, you have options to resolve your issues for free:

  • You can seek help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC).  To see if you qualify for help, go to IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service page and click on “Low Income Tax Clinics.”  The site includes a list of clinics in your area.
  • You can contact the IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). TAS employees assist taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems that have not been resolved through normal channels, or who believe that an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should.
  • You can reach TAS at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059.

The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility has jurisdiction over Enrolled Agents, Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers who practice before the service.  If you suspect practitioner misconduct, you can report the behavior to the IRS via e-mail at opr@irs.gov.

Tips to keep in mind:

• The IRS DOES NOT initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media platforms to request personal or financial information.

• If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, do not give out any of your personal information over the phone.

• If you know or think you owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 to validate the call. If there is a valid issue, the IRS employees at this number will assist you.

• If you do not owe taxes and/or never received a bill in the mail prior to the call, hang up immediately. Then call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the incident at 1.800.366.4484.

• The Taxpayer Advocate service is real, but will not call taxpayers without reason.

• The Bureau of Tax Enforcement is not a real organization.

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