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Sunday February 16, 2020

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Taxpayer Advocate Service Scam

The IRS operates the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) to assist taxpayers. As an independent organization within the IRS, the TAS exists to protect your rights as a taxpayer, and help you with tax problems you cannot resolve on your own.

The TAS oftens helps answer common questions and concerns. These include "I Can't Pay my Taxes," "How to Choose a Tax Return Preparer," "What is a Health Care Premium Tax Credit," "Identity Theft" and "I Need a Filing Extension."

The latest creative scam involves robocalls claiming to represent the TAS. The return phone number is similar to the TAS numbers in major cities. When the taxpayer returns the call, the scammer uses a fake IRS name and badge number.

Some scammers are able to spoof caller ID to appear to be from the IRS. They may know the last four digits of your Social Security Number. The scammer explains that you are qualified for a large refund, but must give your bank and personal information to receive it.

If you refuse to cooperate, the scammer may resort to threats. He or she may threaten you with immediate arrest or loss of your driver's license.

The IRS has several policies in place to protect taxpayers from scams. It will not demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. It will not threaten to call local law enforcement, will not ask for your credit or debit card number and will not demand payment without giving you the opportunity to appeal the amount of tax owed.

If you are contacted by a scammer, hang up and report the call to phishing@irs.gov. You also may call 800-366-4484 or go to FTC.gov and report using the "FTC Complaint Assistant."

Published March 22, 2019
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