IRS seeing rise of imposters using tax scams to steal your money

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The incidence of IRS imposters and other criminals looking to use tax scams as a way to cheat you out of money is on the increase.

The hallmark of these scams is to confuse you and force you into making quick decisions, a decision that will relieve you of your money–but not relieve you of your tax burden.

A viewer contacted Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia about an urgent-sounding voice message from someone claiming to be from the so-called “Division of Financial Relief.”

The caller claimed because of the COVID relief act signed by the president, your unpaid back taxes are forgiven.

“You do not need to pay back any past-due taxes as they have been deemed non-collectible,” said the caller.

The message tried to coerce the recipient into acting quickly, saying they would miss out unless they “acted within the special enrollment period.

Mona Passmore, Acting Special Agent in charge of the IRS field office in Charlotte said, “I’ve been with the IRS 30 years, and I don’t know of a Division of financial relief.”

Not only does the IRS not make robocalls to people, but it also was never authorized to forget about your past taxes.

“The COVID Relief Program does not do away with your responsibility to pay your taxes” she said.

If you owe back taxes, Passmore said you need to reach out to the IRS.

Their website offers ways to help you make arrangements to pay those taxes. Look under the “make a payment” tab.

When it comes to owing money for back taxes, there are also scores of companies that offer to negotiate with the IRS to your payment reduced to pennies on the dollar.

“They often mislead people who don’t have a chance to meet the requirements to qualify for an offer to compromise,” said Passmore.

If you do qualify for a tax compromise, don’t use a middleman like one of those companies because it could cost you.

“You can spend way more money employing one of these compromise companies to help you get out of your tax debt than if you went straight to the IRS website and use the tools there,” said Passmore.

What about those refunds for tax forms you submitted back in 2019? Some people are still waiting for them. Here’s why.

“We are all still working from home,” said Passmore. “For several months we weren’t going into the office. Now they’re trying to catch up and get paper returns posted.”

It’s going to take some time to get that backlog of paper returns cleared., but the IRS can’t give us a specific date.

If you can, you need to file your taxes electronically next time because you’ll get your return processed faster.

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