Hot Topics at the IRS, are you one of them???

Here you’ll find items of current interest — new programs, recent guidance or timely reminders.

Is it really the IRS calling?

Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and 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.

To understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and determine if it’s truly the IRS see: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.

Private Debt Collection

The IRS began a new private collection program of certain overdue federal tax debts selecting four contractors to implement it.

The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA). First, the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency.

Only four private groups are participating in this program: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, N.Y.; Performant of Livermore, Calif.; and Pioneer of Horseheads, N.Y. The taxpayer’s account will only be assigned to one of these agencies, never to all four. No other private group is authorized to represent the IRS.

Note: Check your account balance. If nothing is due, you typically wouldn’t be contacted by IRS or a private firm.

Tax information for student financial aid applications

To protect sensitive taxpayer data, the IRS and FSA the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on fafsa.gov and StudentLoans.gov used to access your tax information for the FAFSA and income-driven repayment (IDR) plan applications is currently unavailable. While we are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, the tool will remain unavailable until extra security protections can be added.

See: IRS Offers Help to Students, Families to Get Tax Information for Student Financial Aid Applications

Consumer Alerts on Tax Scams

‪Note that the IRS will never:

Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.

Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For more information on tax scams, please see Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts. For more information on phishing scams, please see Suspicious e-Mails and Identity Theft.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed as part of the HIRE Act, generally requires that foreign financial Institutions and certain other non-financial foreign entities report on the foreign assets held by their U.S. account holders or be subject to withholding on withholdable payments. The HIRE Act also contained legislation requiring U.S. persons to report, depending on the value, their foreign financial accounts and foreign assets.

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