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Scammers using IRS to cheat

Chowchilla CPA Nancy W. Simpson reports there’s no end to scams from crooks claiming to be from the IRS.

“We got a message that a new scam sends people an IRS notice through email,” she said. “It looks like a CP2000 and has a payment coupon on it for people to send in their payments, but it’s to a false address.”

A CP2000 is a notice that is sent to the taxpayer when the IRS is proposing a change in their tax return, said Simpson. The taxpayer has a chance to check it out and respond, letting the IRS know if there is more information and whether they agree or disagree with the change. If you agree with the change, and there is an additional balance due, the taxpayer is to send in the payment.

This is a scam people should particularly watch out for because a lot of CP2000 notices that are legitimate get sent to taxpayers by the Internal Revenue Service.

It is a form that says, “The income and/or payment information we have on file doesn’t match the information you reported on your tax return. This could affect your tax return; it may cause an increase or decrease in your tax, or may not change it at all.”

According to the IRS, an authentic CP2000 notice is used when income reported from third-party sources such as an employer does not match the income reported on the tax return. Unlike the fake, the legitimate CP2000 provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed.

A real notice requests that checks be made out to “United States Treasury.”

The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners are warning taxpayers and tax professionals of fake IRS tax bills related to the Affordable Care Act.

“The IRS has received numerous reports of scammers sending a fraudulent version of a notice — labeled CP2000 — for tax year 2015. The issue has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.

This scam may arrive by email, as an attachment. If that happens, don’t return anything by email. Print it out if you can and take it to the police.

A sure give-away that it is a scam is a request that checks be made out to I.R.S. and sent to the “Austin Processing Center” at a post office box. The IRS says that is totally fraudulent.

Some hints for protecting yourself:

• Never respond to threats over the phone from someone claiming to be from the IRS. If someone keeps calling or badgering you, tell that person you are going to call the sheriff or police when you hang up. And then, do make that call.

• Never send anybody any money, regardless of whom they claim to be, unless you can verify that the money will be going to the IRS for a legitimate debt.

• Take any communications you get from anybody claiming to be from the IRS to a licensed tax preparer, such as a certified public accountant. These folks deal with the IRS every day. They will be able to tell you quickly whether you are dealing with a scammer or the Internal Revenue Service.


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