Cobecon Compliance Update
IRS and the members of the Security Summit have issued an alert to taxpayers and tax professionals to be on guard against fake emails purporting to be an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). ( IR 2016-123 )
Form CP2000 is sent by IRS to a taxpayer when income reported from third-party sources, such as an employer, does not match the income reported on the taxpayer’s tax return. The form provides instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed. Form CP2000 also requests that a check be made out to “United States Treasury” if the taxpayer agrees that an additional tax is owed. Or, if taxpayers are unable to pay, the form provides instructions for payment options such as installment payments.
In IR 2016-123, IRS and the Security Summit members are informing taxpayers and tax professionals that IRS has received numerous reports from around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015.
How to identify the scam emails. IRS notes the following characteristics of the scam notices:
- an email that includes the fake CP2000 as an attachment;
- the notice appears to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
- the underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act requesting information regarding 2014 coverage;
- the payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C;
- the notice includes 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.
IRS explained that the CP2000 is a notice commonly mailed to taxpayers through the Postal Service. The form is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. Also, IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms.
Taxpayers or tax professionals who receive this scam email should forward it to email@example.com, and then delete the email from their email account. Taxpayers and tax professionals generally can do a keyword search on https://www.irs.gov for any notice they receive.
Taxpayers who receive a notice or letter can view explanations and images of common correspondence on https://www.irs.gov at “Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter.” To determine if a CP2000 notice you received in the mail is real, see “Understanding Your CP2000 Notice,” which includes an image of a real notice.
IRS warned taxpayers and tax professionals to be wary of any unsolicited email purported to be from IRS or any unknown source. Taxpayers should never open an attachment or click on a link within an email sent by sources they do not know, IRS advised.
IRS has reported the fake email scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.