The IRS already has all the information it needs to collect tax debts and issue stimulus payments. It has no need to contact you for additional info — and if it were to contact you, it would do so by mail.
Don’t be fooled if someone claiming to be the IRS contacts you asking for more information. Never provide personal or financial information to anyone claiming to be from the IRS, whether they call, email, text or contact you via social media.
Unfortunately, the announcement of stimulus payments has emboldened scammers to try to outwit you in an effort to get their hands on your money. The IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division is on the case, but they need you to remain vigilant in the meantime.
There are two basic scam formulas going on now. One is to promise taxpayers their stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information. The other claims that you owe federal taxes and demands information or payment.
Remember: The IRS will never ask for payment in gift cards, prepaid debit cards, money orders or wire transfers. It will never ask for your payment information by email, text message, social media or even a letter.
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be the IRS and you fear you may actually owe federal taxes, do not respond to the contact. Instead, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 or ask your tax attorney to contact the IRS for you.
How will the 2020 stimulus payments be distributed?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act authorizes direct payments to taxpayers or $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. This is often referred to in the press as a “stimulus check,” but it is properly called an “economic impact payment.”
These will be distributed over the course of the next several months, and most of them will be direct deposited into the account you designated for your tax refund on your 2018 and 2019 tax returns.
If you have not given the IRS direct deposit information, the IRS plans to open a new secure portal on IRS.gov in the middle of April. This will allow you to provide direct deposit information. If you do not provide direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to your last known address — but that could take much longer.
Within 15 days of making your economic impact payment, the IRS will send a letter to the last address on file for you.
If you are unsure about whether the person contacting you is from the IRS, you can always call 800-829-1040 or go to the IRS’s Coronavirus tax relief and economic impact payments web page.