The IRS releases a list of the top tax scams every year to warn taxpayers and to remind them to be diligent in keeping their personal information safe. Some of these issues are fairly common, such as identity theft, but others are more specific to the IRS and taxes.
Specifically, individuals may receive a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent who needs to discuss the taxpayer's return with them. Some scammers even have numbers that show up as the IRS on caller ID. However, the IRS will only call a taxpayer if they have spoken with an IRS agent and given that specific agent explicit permission to contact them via phone.
The IRS will also never contact a taxpayer via email. These phishing scams often ask taxpayers to click the included link to go to the IRS website and confirm their personal information. The IRS does not take payments through their .gov website (all online tax payments are done via the 1040paytax.com website), and anyone receiving an email directing them to a different site or asking for banking information should be forwarded to the IRS phishing scam department.
While these are the two most common tax scams, there are a number of others for which taxpayers need to watch out. Identity theft continues to be an issue year-round, but it is especially prevalent during tax season because scammers may file fake returns using victims' social security numbers. Return preparer fraud and fake charities are also common scams.