Taxpayer Fraud: New Threats
By Matthew Miller, CPA, MBA
The IRS has recently issued a warning to taxpayers stating that fake tax bills are being sent to taxpayers by e-mail. In their news release, IR-2016-123, the IRS alerts taxpayers and tax practitioners to an email scam involving fraudulent CP2000 notices for the 2015 tax year. The notices, which are attached to the email and appear to be issued from an IRS Austin, Texas address, relate to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) indicating the taxpayer has an underreporting issue. The fake notice assesses a penalty against the taxpayer. The fraudulent CP2000 notice include a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address. This is in addition to a “payment” link within the email itself. Please Note: A real CP2000 notice is sent through the U.S. Postal Service and directs taxpayers to make out checks to “United States Treasury.”
The IRS reminds taxpayers that it doesn’t initiate contact by email or through social media platforms. Individuals receiving this scam email should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and delete it from their account. If you receive an e-mail or a letter from the IRS or state government, please contact our office immediately and we will review the notice with you for authenticity and accuracy.
What is a CP2000? A CP2000 is a notice that the IRS sends when the income they have reported under your Social Security Number is different from what you may have reported on your tax return. The IRS’s Automated Underreporter Program generates a CP2000 notice when income reported from third party sources, such as an employer, does not match the income reported on a tax return. The IRS simply highlights the difference between the return you filed and the information they received from third parties. You are asked to respond to the IRS within 30 day to acknowledge the third party information is correct, or provide documentation supporting the information you reported.
The IRS assumes the third party information reported to them is correct. As a result, the CP2000 will also include an assessment of tax, penalty and interest due on the return. It is important that you review the notice for correctness and respond to the notice promptly.