The IRS can call you. But most people never get a call from the IRS.
Calls from the IRS are rare
There are a couple reasons why:
- The IRS mainly sends notices because it doesn’t have the personnel to call taxpayers.
- The IRS wants to combat the many IRS impersonation phone scams.
The IRS will call you directly in only two instances:
- You owe large amounts of back taxes (usually $100,000 or more).
You’re subject to a
In both of these cases, you’ll probably already know about the issue and the call before your phone ever
rings. The IRS sends notices first, followed by a scheduled visit or call.
If you owe back taxes
The IRS will ask you to pay several times by mail before making any phone contact. The IRS does use
third-party debt collectors
for people who owe back
taxes, but the IRS will always
send a letter first
letting you know about the collection agency that will call to collect your tax debt.
If you’re under an IRS field audit
These audits are usually limited to businesses and high-wealth people, and the IRS would formally announce
the audit by mail, with a request for information. These days, field audits are rare – and taxpayers almost
always get a letter about the audit in advance.
Beware IRS impersonators
IRS impersonator calls can be unsettling, because the caller demands payment and threatens legal and
criminal consequences. In these instances, rest assured that the call is fake, because you’ll always get an
IRS notice in advance.
The answer here: Just hang up. An IRS impersonator is trying to scam you out of your money.
Yes, the IRS can call you – but it will not be a surprise
If you owe a lot of taxes or you’re under a field audit, you will have received a notice before the IRS
If the IRS has called you in one of those situations, you’ll need to get back into compliance. Your tax pro
can get to the bottom of your issue and deal with the IRS for you.