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IRS Letters: How to Differentiate Real from Fake

Have you received a tax notice from the IRS? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends notices and bills to alert taxpayers of discrepancies with their account or tax return. There are several reasons for getting an IRS letter. Usually, getting these letters means that the IRS has spotted inaccuracies on a return or wants to inform you about a balance due or an overpaid tax.

However, it is crucial to verify whether the IRS letters you have received are real or fake. Most taxpayers have a hard time differentiating between what is legitimate and what is a scam. If you can’t tell between real and fake letters, you may fall into the trap of scammers, who are trying to get your money through fraudulent means. Many people have already fallen prey to such scams as well as have reported such incidences to the IRS. So, you should be careful enough to identify the signs of fake IRS letters and notices to stay safe.

Given below are some of the most tell-tale signs that you can use to differentiate between real and fake IRS letters.

Taxpayer reading IRS letters in & Near Bronx, NY

IRS Seal on the Letter

If you have received a letter which says it is from the IRS, you should first see if it is inside a government envelope. If it is legitimate, the letter will carry the IRS seal as well as a notice or letter number. You’ll find the number at the top right hand corner of the letter or the notice. If you don’t find the seal and the number on the letter, it is most likely to be a fake letter and scam.

Truncated Tax ID Number

When the IRS sends you a letter, it will mention your tax ID number on the letter in a truncated form. In addition to this, real IRS letters will also note the tax year or period during which it has noticed issues with your tax return. Both these details will be printed at the top right hand corner of the letter. If the correspondence does not have these crucial details, it should raise an alarm.

Rights as a Taxpayer

When it comes to dealing with the IRS, it is important for the taxpayer to know about their fundamental right.

If you are aware of your rights as a taxpayer, you will be able to protect them. Some of these rights include the Right to be Informed, the Right to Quality Service, the Right to Privacy, the Right to Finality etc. If you have received an IRS letter, you should check if it includes your rights as a taxpayer. Scammers are unlikely to include these details and this is how you can identify a fake letter.

Payment Options

If you have a balance due, the IRS in its letter will provide you with a couple of payment options. Always keep in mind that the payment should always be made to the United States Treasury. If you find that you are asked to make the payment to any party other than the US Treasury, you should be careful. The IRS will never ask for your credit or debit card details or want you to pay using iTunes or gift cards. If the payment options provided in the letter makes you suspicious, it is most likely a fake IRS letter, sent to dupe you and defraud you.

A legitimate IRS letter will never ask you to make an upfront payment. Even if you have a balance due, the tax department will inform you to follow a couple of steps so that you can appeal your payment first.

Therefore, exercise caution in responding to an IRS letter. Before anything, you need to find out whether the letter you have received is a legitimate one. Scammers are waiting to defraud taxpayers. Hopefully, these signs and tips will help you tell a real IRS letter from a fake IRS letter.

Best Tip: Verify with the IRS Directly

Happy taxpayer with IRS letter in & near Bronx, NY

Scammers are smarter than you think. They can even copy the IRS logo to make the fake letter look like a real one.

If you suspect the notice or letter you have received is not real, the best thing you can do is reach out to the IRS department directly. To verify, you should visit the official website of the Internal Revenue Service and search for the notice or letter you have been served using the number on it. You can also directly ring up the IRS office and talk to one of their agents. Don’t forget to mention your letter or notice number as a reference while talking to the IRS agent.

Do You Still Have a Question?

The IRS does send letters and notices to taxpayers. If you have received a notice or bill from the IRS or any other taxing authority and verified it is a legitimate one, you should never ignore it. These issues require timely response. At the SCL Tax Services In & Near Bronx, NY, we provide tax resolution to help clients respond to IRS communications and resolve their tax problems while keeping costs down. Our tax professionals will look into your issues and correct any understated tax returns and communicate with the IRS on your behalf on various tax-related matters.

You can reach out to our tax office in the Bronx, NY, via a phone call or fill the contact form below.

SCL Tax Services serves you in and near the Bronx, Eastchester, Mt Vernon, Westchester, and Yonkers, NY.

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