What The IRS Can And Can’t Do

Many people want to know if it is true that the IRS will send local police to arrest them and put them in jail if they do not pay their tax bill. It is not true. There are rampant and constantly evolving IRS agent impersonation scams that use these threats. Do not fall for them.

Here is more about what the Service can do and what it cannot.

Can The IRS Put Me In Jail?

Absolutely not. The concept of debtor's prisons did exist in the 19th century, but the only way you will go to jail today is if convicted of tax fraud.

Criminal tax convictions usually require willful action to defraud the government by lying about business expenses or hiding assets in offshore accounts. White collar tax fraud charges are frequently added in embezzlement, insurance fraud or money laundering cases. Often the tax charges carry the heftiest penalties.

How Will The IRS Contact Me If I Owe Money?

The IRS still uses the US postal service. It uses written form notices to communicate with taxpayers. It will never contact you out of the blue on the phone. And it cannot call and threaten you.

Some of the reasons the IRS will mail a notice or letter include:

  • You owe a balance
  • There is a question related to your tax return or additional information is needed
  • A change was made to your tax return

You can get more information by searching the notice (CP) or letter (LTR) number listed in the upper or lower right corner. For example, a CP2000 is a common form used when information on your tax return doesn't match information provided by third parties.

Can The IRS Sue Me?

Generally, the IRS will not sue you. When an IRS agent has questions about information contained in your tax return, he or she may audit your return. These are most often correspondence audits asking for more documentation to support gambling losses or charitable giving. If the agent requests an in-person audit, it is crucial to get legal representation to appear with you and protect your rights.

IRS collection efforts start with an unpaid tax balance notice and then proceeding to a lien against property or levy of property or bank accounts.

Litigation is usually started by taxpayers who need to challenge an error or fight the outcome of an audit.

How Can I Pay My Tax Bill?

You can pay in a variety of ways. The IRS will accept money orders and checks through the mail in addition to the below online and app options:

  • Direct Pay that will debit a checking or savings account
  • Debit or credit card online
  • A free app called IRS2Go available on the Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon
  • Online installment agreements

The IRS does not accept payment in the form on prepaid retail store cards, prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Debit or credit card numbers are not taken over the phone either. Any caller demanding these types of payment is a scammer.

Resolve The Root Tax Problem

Owing significant tax debt can be extremely stressful. Find out what help might be available in your situation with a free consultation. Sending us an email ensures you can make an informed decision and do not fall for a scam. Get needed answers today.