As the October 15th tax filing deadline approaches, the IRS has just issued a fraud alert, IR-2016-123, warning taxpayers and tax professionals “to be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act.”
The warning says that the IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 as an attachment.
This is a serious issue, and it has been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, for investigation.
The CP2000 is a notice commonly mailed to taxpayers through the United States Postal Service. It is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers.
According to the alert, indications of a fake CP2000 include:
- The very fact that the notices are being sent electronically, even though the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms
- The CP 2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address
- The underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requesting information regarding 2014 coverage
- The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C.
The fraudulent CP2000 notice included a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address. This is in addition to a “payment” link within the email itself.
Any such emails are an attempt to defraud. Taxpayers or tax professionals who receive this scam email should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it from their email account.
An authentic CP2000 is generated by the IRS Automated Underreporter Program when income reported from third-party sources such as an employer does not match the income reported on the tax return.
This scam comes on the heels of a rise in telephone tax scams we reported on earlier this year. Other ongoing scams that the IRS warns about include:
- Phishing scams
- Identity theft
- Scams advertising “free money” from the IRS
- Scams involving Social Security
- Scams involving fake charities
You can see a complete list of all the tax scams the IRS has warned about, and what you can do to avoid them, or if you believe you have become a victim, by visiting the agency’s consumer alerts.
We remind you that the IRS will never contact you about any tax matter by phone or email first. They will always send a letter by US mail. Still, if you receive any letter about a tax bill and you are not sure if it is real, contact our offices, we would be glad to help you verify if it is authentic, and/or help you resolve the matter if it is a legitimate concern.
Compliance with and understanding the difference between scams and legitimate income tax problems, can be complex. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have further questions on this Advisory, do not hesitate to contact our Tax and Accounting Specialists, or call us at 1-800-239-1474.