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Forms and Instructions

Individual Tax Return
Request for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and Certification
Single and Joint Filers With No Dependents
Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate

 

Request for Transcript of Tax Returns
Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return
Installment Agreement Request
Wage and Tax Statement

Popular For Tax Pros

Amend/Fix Return
Apply for Power of Attorney
Apply for an ITIN
Rules Governing Practice before IRS

Tax Scams / Consumer Alerts

In recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims. This page looks at the different scams affecting individuals, businesses, and tax professionals and what do if you if you spot a tax scam. 

REMEMBER: The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. In addition, IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. Recognizing these telltale signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim. See also: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door

Scams Targeting Tax Professionals


Increasingly, tax professionals are being targeted by identity thieves. These criminals – many of them sophisticated, organized syndicates - are redoubling their efforts to gather personal data to file fraudulent federal and state income tax returns. The Security Summit has a campaign aimed at increasing awareness among tax professionals: Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself.

Recent scams targeting the tax professional community include:

Tax professionals should review Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, A Guide for Your Business, which provides a checklist to help safeguard taxpayer information and enhance office security.

See also: Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals.

 

Scams Targeting Taxpayers


IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. 

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Some con artists have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity. For more details see the IRS YouTube video: Tax Scams via Video Relay Service

Con artists often approach victims with Limited English Proficiency in their native language, threaten them with deportation, police arrest and license revocation, among other things. IRS urges all taxpayers caution before paying unexpected tax bills. Please see: IRS Alerts Taxpayers with Limited English Proficiency of Ongoing Phone Scams.  Note that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

 

Soliciting Form W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals.

The IRS has established a process that will allow businesses and payroll service providers to quickly report any data losses related to the W-2 scam currently making the rounds. See details at Form W2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. If notified in time, the IRS can take steps to prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names. There also is information about how to report receiving the scam email.

Employers and tax professionals should notify states of any disclosures of W-2s or other identity information by emailing StateAlert@taxadmin.org.

As a reminder, tax professionals who experience a data breach also should quickly report the incident to the IRS. See details at Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals.

Also see:


Surge in Email, Phishing and Malware Schemes


When identity theft takes place over the web (email), it is called phishing. The IRS saw an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents in the 2016 tax season.

The IRS has issued several alerts about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information to steal their identity and assets. 

Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Variations of these scams can be seen via text messages. The IRS is aware of email phishing scams that include links to bogus web sites intended to mirror the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between "IRS" and "gov"), though not IRS.gov (with a dot). These emails are not from the IRS.

The sites may ask for information used to file false tax returns or they may carry malware, which can infect computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.

For more details, see:

Unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or from a related component such as EFTPS, should be reported to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

For more information, visit the IRS's Report Phishing web page.


Tax Refund Scam Artists Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel


Some taxpayers may are receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails try to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link. If you receive this scam, please forward it to phishing@irs.gov and note that it seems to be a scam email phishing for your information.;

TAP is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on systemic issues affecting taxpayers. It never requests, and does not have access to, any taxpayer’s personal and financial information.


Additional Recent Tax Scams

FBI Themed Ransomware Scam


Last-Minute Email Scams


Fictitious “Federal Student Tax” scam targeting students and parents and demanding payment.

Automated calls requesting tax payments in the form of iTunes or other gift cards.

 Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry.

 


How to Report Tax-Related Schemes, Scams, Identity Theft and Fraud

To report tax-related illegal activities, refer to our chart explaining the types of activity and the appropriate forms or other methods to use. You should also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.


Additional Scam-Related Information:

IRS YouTube Videos on Tax Scams: