In the seminar we attended this month, one of the speakers was Special Agent in Charge Mary Hammond of the Tampa Field Office. She is part of the criminal investigation unit. She discussed several topics but one of them was about the 3rd party collection agencies contracted by the IRS. The IRS has turned over to outside collection agencies accounts that are outstanding inactive tax receivables. Taxpayers will be given written notice from the IRS as well as receive written correspondence from the agency assigned to them. They must still respect taxpayers’ rights and cannot accept payment over the phone or via prepaid debit cards, iTunes or gift cards. Payments will be through IRS.gov or via check directly mailed to the IRS not the collection agency. If the collection agencies treat the taxpayer wrongly, then the taxpayer can contact their Taxpayer Advocate for help, 727-318-6061. If taxpayers are not sure if the collection agency is legitimate, they can refuse to talk to them until they contact IRS directly to verify. Also discussed at the seminar by Mrs. Hammond, was what you can do in certain situations where you are not sure if it is really IRS contacting you in person or via phone.
In Person – the criminal investigation unit will not contact you first if they are coming to ask you questions. But, they will have photo identification with them. If you are unsure about someone at your door, they suggest contacting local police to have an officer come out and verify the agent is with the IRS.
On Phone – if someone from the IRS calls you and threatens that they will come arrest you, this is NOT the IRS. The real IRS criminal investigation unit will not warn you that they are coming to arrest you. You can report this activity to https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/ with as much information as you can give them. The phone number that the phony IRS agent is asking you to call would be helpful.