It seems like every week scammers come up with a new ploy to trick honest taxpayers into giving up more of their hard-earned money. The latest involves fraudulent CP2000 notices for the tax year 2015.
In case you are unfamiliar with the CP2000, the IRS sends these notices to taxpayers when there is a discrepancy between income reported to the IRS by a payer (such as a bank or employer) and the amount reported on the payee’s tax return. A CP2000 provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree with the additional tax assessed. These notices are mailed to taxpayers throughout the United States.
This new scam has the notices being sent electronically, with the CP2000 notice as an email attachment. The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms.
There are a couple of other red flags to look out for:
- The CP2000 notices appear to have been issued from an Austin, TX address
- The notice requests that taxpayers mail a check made out to the “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a post office box address, or make payment via a link included in the email. A real CP2000 notice would request a check made out to the United States Treasury.
- The underreporting issue is said to be related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), seeking information on 2014 health insurance coverage
- The payment voucher lists the letter number as 1056C
If you receive a CP2000 notice, do not respond and never open any attachments from emails supposedly from the IRS. You can report the fraudulent notice to the IRS by forwarding the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anytime you receive a notice from the IRS, it’s a good idea to forward a copy of the notice to your tax professional. The IRS has been known to get things wrong from time to time, and scammers are always coming up with new ways to defraud taxpayers. Your tax professional can take a look at any notice you receive and determine whether you legitimately owe additional tax, the notice is a fake, or you need to prepare an amended return.