The IRS comes knocking, but who is REALLY at your door?

Photo (c) lkeskinen - Fotolia

Consumers are urged to be on the lookout for IRS tax scams

You answer the knock on the door from someone who says he's from the Internal Revenue Service. But is he? How can you be sure?

The Internal Revenue Service has the answer. It's created this special new page on to help you determine if that person claiming to be from the IRS is legitimate or an imposter.

Scams galore

With phone and in-person scams taking place across the country, the IRS wants you to know that their agents do make official -- sometimes unannounced -- visits as part of their routine casework. Taxpayers should keep in mind the reasons these visits occur and understand how to verify if it is the IRS knocking at their door.

Visits typically fall into three categories:

  • Taxes owed or tax returns due. Revenue officers are IRS civil enforcement employees whose role involves education, investigation, and when necessary, appropriate enforcement.
  • Audits. That taxpayer would have first been notified by mail about the audit and set an agreed-upon appointment time with the revenue agent. Also, after mailing an initial appointment letter, an auditor may call to confirm and discuss items pertaining to the scheduled audit appointment.
  • Investigations. IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or place of business unannounced. However, these federal law enforcement agents will not demand any sort of payment. Criminal investigators also carry law enforcement credentials, including a badge.

What to do

If you owe taxes -- or think you do -- stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of the year, not just at tax time. For more information, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts.”

You have a set of fundamental rights you should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. This is your Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and you can find it on

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