Be on Guard: IRS Warns of New Scam Related to the ACA
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that it has received many complaints, nationwide, of scammers sending fake CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Criminals are sending taxpayers an email with an attached CP2000 notice, demanding payment for unpaid taxes related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The IRS has often stated that it does not contact taxpayers via email, so the biggest red flag of this scheme is the email itself.
Here are other warning signs the message you’re receiving may be fraudulent, in addition to tips on what to do if you’re contacted by a scammer.
The fake email notice:
- states that the taxpayer underreported income related to his or her ACA coverage in 2014, and now owes money to the IRS
- tells taxpayers to make their check payable to the “I.R.S.”
- directs taxpayers to mail their checks to an address in Austin, Texas
- includes a payment voucher that lists the letter number as 105C
- contains a payment link within the actual email
How to tell whether a CP2000 notice is real
An IRS-issued CP2000 notice:
- is sent by mail, not by email or social media
- includes detailed instructions about what to do if you agree or disagree that you owe additional tax
- requests that you make your check payable to the “United States Treasury” if you agree that you owe additional tax
- tells you what to do if you are unable to pay the amount due, such as setting up installment payments
A CP2000 notice informs you that the information the IRS received from a third party – such as your employer or bank – does not match what’s reported on your tax return. The notice contains the IRS’ proposed adjustments to your income, payments, credits or deductions – which may lead to you owing additional tax or getting a refund.
If you’re unsure whether a mailed CP2000 notice is real, call the IRS directly to find out.
The IRS says it will not:
- contact taxpayers by email, phone, text or social media to request personal or financial information
- demand immediate payment by phone, or take enforcement action right after a phone conversation. The agency usually sends prior notification by mail before taking enforcement action
- call or email you requesting that you verify your identity
- require that you pay your tax bill using a specific payment method, such as prepaid debit card
- ask for credit or debit card information over the phone or by email
What to do if you receive a bogus CP2000 notice by email:
- Do not reply to the email.
- Do not click on any attachments. The link may contain a virus designed to harm your computer.
- Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Delete the email.
In February 2016, the IRS reported a 400 percent surge in phishing emails and malware scams. The agency and its Security Summit partners – which include state taxation agencies – are raising awareness on the issue so that taxpayers and tax professionals can better safeguard themselves against tax-related scams. For more information on how you can protect yourself, visit the IRS website.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.