Washington, D.C. (September 22, 2016)
By Michael Cohn
The Internal Revenue Service is alerting tax professionals and taxpayers alike about a new scam involving fake CP2000 notices that are being sent to unsuspecting taxpayers, billing them for unpaid taxes related to the Affordable Care Act.
The IRS is issuing the alert in conjunction with its partners in the Security Summit initiative, in which the IRS has been teaming up with state tax authorities, tax software companies, major tax preparer chains and tax professional associations. The IRS has been partnering with the outside groups in an effort to battle the wave of identity theft, tax fraud and tax scams victimizing innocent taxpayers.
The IRS said it has received numerous reports across the U.S. of scammers who are sending fraudulent CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. The scam typically involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 attached to it. The IRS has reported the problem to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to investigate it.
The CP2000 can be a legitimate notice that the IRS mails to taxpayers through the U.S. Postal Service, but the IRS noted the notice is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers. Taxpayers and tax professionals should be suspicious of any notices that are sent electronically. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media such as Twitter or Facebook.
The IRS’s Automated Underreporter Program generates a CP2000 notice when income reported from third-party sources such as employers does not match the income reported on a tax return. It includes instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed. The notice also requests that a check be made out to “United States Treasury” if the taxpayer agrees additional tax is owed. If taxpayers are unable to pay the additional tax, the notice provides instructions for payment options such as installment payments.
The fraudulent CP 2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas address and request information regarding 2014 coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C.
The bogus CP2000 notice includes a payment requesting taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to an “Austin Processing Center” at a P.O. box address. There is also a “payment” link within the email.
To determine if a CP2000 notice is real or not, see the IRS web page Understanding Your CP2000 Notice, which includes an image of a real notice. The IRS advised taxpayers or tax pros who receive this scam email should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it from their email account. Taxpayers and tax professionals generally can do a keyword search on IRS.gov for any notice they receive. Taxpayers who receive a notice or letter can view explanations and images of common correspondence on IRS.gov at Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter.