In the age of online communication and paperless billing, it is no surprise scam artists’ new favorite vehicle is email. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an alert for the public to be aware of phony emails that appear to be from a fake IRS office. These emails are designed to look like an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act. This matter has already been reported for investigation with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Last year, multiple reports of fraudulent CP2000 notices were received. They are expected to circulate again in an attachment sent via email. Within the notice is a request for payment to be sent to the “I.R.S” at the “Austin Processing Center” with the address listed as a Post Office Box. You will also see a payment link within the email.
A legitimate CP2000 is generated through the IRS Automated Underreporter Program. These documents are sent when income reported from third party sources does not match the income reported on the tax return. It includes instructions and requests a check be made out to the “United States Treasury” if the taxpayer agrees with the additional amount owed.
(This is an image of a fake CP2000 tax notice)
The CP2000 tax notice is generally mailed to taxpayers through the U.S. postal service, never as an email. Here are major red flags you should look for if you believe you were sent a fake tax notice:
- Legitimate tax notices sent from the IRS are never emailed or sent through social media, only through posted mail.
- These fake notices seem to be sent from an Austin, Texas address.
- The issue is associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- The payment voucher indicates the letter number as 105C.
If you receive an email that appears to be this phishing scam, send it to email@example.com and then delete the email from your inbox. A resource from the IRS, “Understanding Your CP2000 Notice” can be used if you are concerned about the notice you receive.
Check the Reporting Phishing and Online Scams resource from the IRS website if you’re unsure the email you receive is legitimate. Do not click on any links or attachments within an email you find questionable. IRS scams are a year-round job for these criminals and take many forms: threatening phone calls, letters and various emails.