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I Received a Letter from the IRS. Is It Legit?

Offshore Account Update

Posted on November 30, 2022 |

When you receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it is important to address the IRS’ correspondence promptly. Whether a revenue agent is simply seeking clarification or the IRS is auditing your personal or business returns, responding in an appropriate and timely manner can mitigate your risk significantly.

But, in today’s world, you also need to make sure the letter is legitimate. Impersonation scams are common, and they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. So, while it is imperative to protect yourself when dealing with the IRS, it is equally important to protect yourself against falling for a scam.

How Can You Determine if a Communication is from the IRS?

The IRS recently published a Tax Tip warning taxpayers of impersonation scams during the 2022-2023 tax season. The Tax Tip offers the following advice for assessing whether communications you receive by mail, email or phone are in fact communications from the IRS:

  • “The IRS doesn't normally initiate contact with taxpayers by email.” While you (or your tax attorney) may end up dealing with the IRS via email eventually, your first communication will typically come by mail, phone call or in person. The IRS also clarifies that all official email addresses end with irs.gov.
  • “The agency does not send text messages or contact people through social media.” If you receive a text message or direct message from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, you are being targeted in a scam.
  • “Fraudsters will often claim they already notified the taxpayer by U.S. Mail.” If you receive a letter saying that the IRS has already contacted you and you have not received a letter previously, you should not let the letter fool you. If you have questions, you should contact the IRS directly using the contact information available on the IRS’ website (not the potentially false contact information in the letter).

The IRS also maintains a running list of Consumer Alerts, and you can check this list to see if the communication you received is similar to fraudulent communications reported by other taxpayers. But, if you do not see similar communications on this list, you should not assume that the letter you received is legitimate. You should contact the IRS to verify, or you can seek advice from an experienced tax attorney.

What Should You Do if You Receive a Letter from the IRS?

Let’s say the letter you received is in fact from the IRS. In this scenario, what should you do?

Unless the letter is routine correspondence, you should consult with a tax attorney promptly. IRS inquiries can present substantial risks for taxpayers, and even if you are not currently facing an audit or investigation, your response may trigger an audit or investigation if you aren’t careful. An experienced tax attorney can help you make informed decisions, and if warranted, your attorney can deal with the IRS on your behalf.

Contact Tax Attorney Kevin E. Thorn in New Jersey

Tax attorney Kevin E. Thorn, Managing Partner of Thorn Law Group, represents individuals and businesses in all IRS-related matters. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Mr. Thorn, you can call 201-340-5606, email ket@thornlawgroup.com or contact us online to arrange a confidential consultation.


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