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Avoid the IRS Imposter Agent Scam

With the ubiquitous phone and in-person scams, determining whether the Internal Revenue Service agent at your door is a fraud or an official representative of the agency can be challenging. The IRS does in fact make house calls during tax audits, often unexpected ones. We’ll help you differentiate the official from the imposter.

An IRS agent visits as part of his or her routine casework. You should know the reason for the visit and if the person knocking at your door is, in fact, an IRS representative.

Typically IRS visits fall under three categories:

  • To discuss taxes owed or tax returns due. A revenue officer’s duties include education, investigation, and, when called for, enforcement. While an agent may want you to pay, he or she will never request a payment to anyone other than the U.S. Treasury.
  • To discuss a tax audit. These visits are never unannounced. In this instance, you would have already been notified and set an appointment with the revenue agent. So if someone shows up claiming you need to be audited and you never made an appointment or received a notice, you know this person is a fraud.
  • To visit a taxpayer during a criminal investigation. These visits are often impromptu. They’re made by federal law enforcement agents, and these agents will never demand a payment. If an IRS representative investigating you asks for any sort of payment, this claim should serve as a red flag.

Taxpayers who owe taxes or believe they owe taxes should be alert for these types of scams—which happen year round, not just during tax season.

Know your rights. As a taxpayer, you hold a fundamental set of rights that must be adhered to: the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Read and explore these rights so you’re prepared and will notice when someone might be trying to scam you.

In addition, here are some helpful links to help you be prepared and knowledgeable, and avoid the hassle of being scammed:

How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door

Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts

Security Summit Identity Theft Tips Overview VideoEnglish

Tax Scam Videos – English | Spanish | ASL

At Patrick & Robinson CPAs, we’re the real deal: tax, assurance, and business planning and financial forecasting services. Contact us at or 904-396-5400.

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