How does the IRS communicate?

What you need to know to avoid IRS scams

When it comes to communication from the IRS, there are certain things they do and don’t do. Understanding how they communicate can help you protect yourself from scammers.

How does the IRS communicate?

They will almost always contact you first via mail. An IRS revenue agent or tax compliance officer may call you, but it will not happen before a notice is sent. If you owe taxes, have a delinquent tax return, or your business is falling behind on payroll tax deposits, an IRS revenue officer or agent may show up unannounced. If this happens to you, make sure to ask for their official credentials before providing them with any information. An IRS representative will have two forms of credentials: a pocket commission and a personal identity verification credential.

The IRS will not initiate contact any of these ways:

  • Email – If you do receive an email, the email address will end with
  • Text message or social media
  • Phone call – As we mentioned above, they may call you but they will not call before sending a notice.

Something else to note is that an IRS agent will never ask for payment in any form other than U.S. currency. If an individual claiming to be an IRS agent asks to be paid with gift cards, know that they are a scammer and you should stop communication immediately.

If you do come in contact with IRS scams, report them to the real IRS.

What do you do if you get a notice from the IRS?

Taxpayers may receive notices from the IRS for a variety of reasons. A notice might inform you of an issue with your federal tax return or account, a payment they believe needs to be made, or a change in your account. Also, this year you have likely received notices about the Economic Impact Payments, or an advance child tax credit outreach letter. Whatever the reason for the notice, it’s in your best interest to take the actions below:

  1. Don’t ignore it. If you receive a letter, be sure to open it and read through it carefully. You need to understand why you’ve received the letter, as there may be time-sensitive action required on your part.
  2. Don’t throw it away. Most notices and letters from the IRS are important and may be needed come tax time. It is recommended that taxpayers should keep records from the IRS for three years from the date they filed their tax return.
  3. Respond to dispute a notice if necessary. If you do not agree with the IRS, you have the option to respond and dispute the notice. When doing mailing your response, make sure to include supporting documentation for the IRS to refer to as they consider your dispute.

If you receive a letter from the IRS and you don’t understand why you received it, contact us right away. We can work with you to determine what needs to be done and help you resolve the issue.

Remember to be aware of how the IRS will and won’t communicate with you, and do your best to protect yourself and your family from scammers!


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