Here you'll find items of current interest — new programs, recent guidance or timely reminders. A Message from James C. Lee, Chief Criminal Investigation IRS Criminal Investigation Marks International Fraud Awareness Week Highlighting Successes from FY20 In recognition of International Fraud Awareness Week, the IRS is highlighting the many successes in combating fraud and protecting taxpayers. This year was different as half of the year was spent under the new realities that COVID-19 has brought us. Through all the COVID challenges, the IRS was still able to attain many results. For example, we opened more investigations in FY20 than we did in FY19 in most of our program areas, our conviction rate is still the highest in federal law enforcement, and we are the go-to agency for complex financial investigations in the world. A Message from Damon Rowe, Executive Director, IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement Observing International Fraud Awareness Week As part of a continuing focus on tax compliance issues, the IRS created the Office of Fraud Enforcement to support IRS efforts to detect and deter fraud while strengthening the national fraud program. In observation of International Fraud Awareness Week, we will promote the incredible investment the IRS has made in the area of fraud enforcement. This week, we will take part in a global effort to minimize the impact of fraud, including tax fraud, by promoting fraud awareness and education. The IRS’s efforts to combat tax and other financial fraud help protect taxpayers around the world and highlight how important fraud prevention is to society. Get Ready for Taxes The IRS encourages taxpayers to take necessary actions this fall to help file federal tax returns timely and accurately in 2021. This is the second in a series of reminders to help taxpayers get ready for the upcoming tax filing season. A special page, updated and available on IRS.gov, outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make tax filing easier in 2021. Coronavirus Tax Relief IRS and Treasury Now Delivering Second Round of Payments Most people will get their payments automatically. Visit our Coronavirus and Economic Impact Payments: Resources and Guidance page for our latest content including: IRS Statements News Releases Tax Tips Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheets Partner Materials and Public Service Announcements in both English and Spanish IRS Guidance Ready-to-Use Articles For up-to-date status on affected IRS operations and services. Outreach Connection Get free tax content to share with your staff, clients, customers or colleagues that you can include in your: Website e-Newsletter Twitter, Instagram or other social media Taxpayer First Act On July 1, 2019, The Taxpayer First Act of 2019 was signed into law, which aims to broadly redesign the Internal Revenue Service. Generally, the legislation aims to expand and strengthen taxpayer rights and to reform the IRS into a more taxpayer friendly agency by requiring it to develop a comprehensive customer service strategy, modernize its technology and enhance its cyber security. See the Taxpayer First Act page for the latest updates. Tax Reform The IRS is working on implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This new law includes major tax legislation that will affect both individuals and businesses. Check the Tax Reform page for the latest updates. Tax Withholding The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the way tax is calculated. The IRS encourages taxpayers to perform a quick “paycheck checkup” by using the Withholding Estimator to check if they have the right amount of withholding for their personal situation. Consumer Alerts on Tax 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. For more information on tax scams, please see Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts. For more information on phishing scams, please see Suspicious emails and Identity Theft. Is it Really the IRS Calling? The IRS wants you to understand how and when we contact taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations. See Avoid scams: Know the facts on how the IRS contacts taxpayers for more information. Private Debt Collection The IRS began a new private collection program of certain overdue federal tax debts selecting four contractors to implement it. The groups are: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, N.Y.; Performant of Livermore, Calif.; and Pioneer of Horseheads, N.Y. The taxpayer’s account will only be assigned to one of these agencies, never to all four. No other private group is authorized to represent the IRS. The IRS will always notify a taxpayer before transferring their account to a private collection agency (PCA). The IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer and their tax representative informing them that their account is being assigned to a PCA and giving the name and contact information for the PCA. This mailing will include a copy of Publication 4518, What You Can Expect When the IRS Assigns Your Account to a Private Collection Agency PDF. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) FATCA refers to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that requires reporting on specified foreign accounts by U.S. taxpayers and foreign financial institutions. In general, federal law requires U.S. citizens to report worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts.