At a recent company meeting, the Metro Tax staff expressed concern for their clients. A fake IRS letter is making the rounds, demanding payment for back taxes.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How are we going to protect our clients and the rest of the community from this?’” said Dana Quade. She’s the office manager at the financial services company in Lake Havasu City.
The fake letter looks legitimate enough. But to Quade, the errors were glaring.
“It asks that you make your payment to the ‘I.R.S.’ That’s not right. Payments to the real IRS are made to the United States Treasury,” she said.
Another telltale sign: The letter states it originated from the Austin (Texas) Processing Center. In fact, no official paperwork from the IRS comes from an address in that city.
One version of the fake tax bill makes it look as if the taxpayer simply didn’t pay enough in a previous tax year.
“The letter asks for a small amount -- $400 or less. Our fear is that some people will just pay it rather than deal with it,” Quade said.
Quade’s advice is to have a professional review any suspicious letter claiming to be from the IRS.
“We encourage people to bring the letter to us before they do anything. Or take it to their own tax preparer to see if it’s legitimate,” she said.
None of Metro Tax’s clients have brought in fake IRS letters – yet.
“I’m sure as tax season gets going, we may see a few,” Quade said.