With scam artists hard at work all year, taxpayers should watch for new versions of tax-related scams. One such scam involves fake property liens. It threatens taxpayers with a tax bill from a fictional government agency.

Here are some details about the property lien scam that will help taxpayers recognize it:

• This scheme involves a letter threatening an IRS lien or levy.
• The scammer mails the letter to a taxpayer.
• The lien or levy is based on bogus overdue taxes owed to a non-existent agency.
• The non-existent agencies might have a legitimate-sounding name like the “Bureau of Tax Enforcement.” There is no such agency.
• This scam may also reference the IRS to confuse potential victims into thinking the letter is from a real agency.

For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do should:

• Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the letter. The taxpayer should use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. When reporting the scam, they should include the keywords “IRS Lien.”
• Scan a document received as a letter or fax, and send it to phishing@irs.gov.
• Report it to the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov.
• Report it also to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, known simply as IC3.

Taxpayers who do owe tax or think they might owe should:

• Review their tax account information and payment options at IRS.gov. Reviewing tax account information online will show the taxpayer if they indeed owe the IRS and how much. This is the fastest way to get this information.
• Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to confirm the notice if they’re still not sure they owe.

David M. Reape CPA
Principal
Director, Tax Services
reape@hwco.com