Every day we hear about new scams in which a scammer calls victims and claims to be the IRS, demanding money. The general professional consensus is that the IRS will never call and demand money, but that is going to be changing in the next few months. Congress passed the FAST Act, which authorizes private debt collectors to call individuals who are delinquent in their tax payments. Although not currently in effect, likely by the end of 2016 if you owe more than $50,000 in back taxes to the federal government, they can suspend your passport. Many states, such as New York and Massachusetts, will suspend your driver’s license if unpaid state taxes exceed a certain threshold. New Jersey does not currently have a suspension policy like this in place.
As a reminder during this tax season as well as throughout the year, it is important to keep in mind that the IRS will not contact you by phone or e-mail regarding tax liens or outstanding tax liabilities. The IRS has strict protocols when contacting taxpayers regarding tax deficiencies, with letters of correspondence being their official method of first contact.
How to identify a tax scam: