7 Common Misconceptions about the IRS

We get it– the IRS is scary. We wouldn’t be the IRS Hostage Negotiators if they were easy to deal with! When it comes to the IRS and how they intimidate or punish taxpayers, there is a lot of misinformation out there. At IRS Hostage Negotiators, we field questions all day from people wondering just what they can expect from their interactions with the IRS. This has us thinking over misconceptions about the IRS and how we can help clear some of them up.

Here are our most commonly heard misconceptions about the IRS 

  1. They won’t come after your social security.
    Oh, but they will. Ever since 2002, Social Security benefits paid under Title II – Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Benefits – are subject to the 15-percent levy through the Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP) to pay your delinquent tax debt.
  2. The IRS especially goes after those who file electronically.
    Not true and it’s actually the opposite: Handwritten returns are 20 times more likely to contain mistakes, which means more likely subject to human eyes…and a potential audit.
  1. Filing late? You’ll get punished with an audit.
    Not exactly. Many people think filing early will protect them from an audit, but rushing through your taxes will leave you vulnerable to mistakes and those mistakes will leave you open to an audit. Filing late has its own host of problems, however. For each month you do not file, you’ll be charged a fee equal to 5% of the taxes owed, up to 25%, plus if you file your tax return more than 60 days past the due date, the IRS says you’ll be required to pay either $210 or 100% of the unpaid tax, whichever is of lesser value.
  1. The IRS will call you first. 
    The IRS absolutely will send you snail mail as the first contact. That’s their preferred method. The IRS does make a lot of calls, but they will never ever ask you to give them sensitive information over the phone. There are a lot of scammers out there pretending to be the IRS calling around tax season. Be prepared.
  1. If you can’t afford to pay, the IRS will throw you in jail.
    The IRS has no tolerance for lying or evading your taxes, but they aren’t looking to throw people in jail for being too poor to pay. You can go to jail for not filing your taxes. You can go to jail for lying on your return. You can’t go to jail for not having enough money to pay your taxes. The IRS will work out a payment plan with you or an offer in compromise.
  1. If you’re going to be audited, they’ll do it within a year of filing.
    They can do actually do it anytime if you never filed a return, but the average is 2-3 years after filing. The IRS normally has three years to audit, measured from the return due date or filing date, whichever is later, but those three years are doubled if you omitted 25% or more of your income. What’s more, the IRS also has no time limit on fraud.
  1. The IRS wants to see you face to face.
    Like almost anything, the IRS would prefer to handle this all without seeing you in person. That’s why IRS Hostage Negotiators exists! You can use a qualified representative do handle your interactions with the IRS every step of the way.

It is hard to separate fact from fiction when dealing with the IRS. That’s where IRS Hostage Negotiators steps in. We’ll handle your tax problems and clear up any misconceptions you may have. Come find out how we get the IRS off your case! 

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