We read it in the industry blogs, get warnings in IRS notifications but it’s still surprising at how pervasive tax scams have become. When you get one, recognize it for the scam it is, and delete it immediately. Go about your business and unless they somehow get some of your money, informing the authorities will likely do little good.
In the last two weeks telephone scams have hit my wife twice, me once and last Friday one of our business office numbers was contacted and threatened. They use words like Income Tax Evasion, Warrant, Indictment, Summons, and that you had better call now, (or tap the attachment for your court date – in the case of an email) or “The cops,” will be coming for you.
All of these latest messages used automated voice technology, probably to hide their accents and sound official, but their diction still gives them away; “We will send the cops,” sounds like something they learned from TV.
The IRS will use a mailed Notice or Letter to make first contact with you if they have questions. Tax Evasion is a very serious and criminal offence which is difficult to prove in most cases. Because it is difficult to prove, smaller operators who fail to report income and get caught usually get the Civil Fraud penalty; 75% of the tax due on the income not reported. Civil Fraud requires much less work on the part of the IRS and achieves most of the same objectives; collects unpaid tax, punishes, and encourages future compliance. If you are a high-roller and the IRS has reason to believe there is a pattern of income tax evasion you might receive a visit from the criminal investigation division prior to any phone calls.