a person filling out tax documents with calculator nearby

Know how the IRS contacts taxpayers

The IRS initiates all contact through paper mail.

The agency will never try to reach you over email, text message, or social media.

They won’t call you or visit your home or business without first sending several paper mail notices. 

If you do receive a notice, it’ll explain why the IRS is contacting you and provide next steps. It’ll also contain an identifying number and contact information in the top or bottom right-hand corner.

Ignore scam calls

Scam calls are a frustratingly common experience. Con artists will impersonate IRS agents with aggressive calls, often threatening to arrest you, revoke your license, or deport you unless you take immediate action. Some may even alter their caller ID information to make it seem like they’re calling from a legitimate IRS office. They might request an unusual form of payment, such as a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. 

Remember, an IRS agent will not threaten you or demand immediate payment, and the IRS can’t revoke a license or immigration status. Legitimate tax officers are there to help you understand your tax obligations. You always have the opportunity to question and appeal the amount they say you owe. And any taxes you owe can always be paid by check addressed to the U.S. Treasury.

Don’t get phished

Identity thieves pursue your personal information to file phony returns and claim your refund. They use text, email, social media, and fake websites to bait taxpayers into sharing personal information. Don’t click on links or open attachments in any unsolicited communications claiming to be from the IRS. Remember, the average person will only ever hear from the IRS through paper mail.

Choose a trustworthy preparer

If you’re using a tax preparer, ask them for their Preparer Tax Identification Number. They should include it along with their signature on your completed tax return. Don’t fall victim to a “ghost” preparer who won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you. Your refund should always be deposited into your bank account—never your preparer’s.

If it feels off, it probably is

Con artists know that taxes can be confusing and stressful for many people. They use emotional tactics to get you to engage—whether that be threatening legal action or offering a tempting large refund. Keep a healthy dose of suspicion on you when handling your tax matters and you’ll avoid becoming a victim of fraud.


Affinity Plus does not provide tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based upon their own situation from an independent tax advisor.