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Kelly J. Bullis: The IRS is (not) calling

Kelly J. Bullis

Since October has become the “scary” month, I thought I would try my hand at telling you a scary story.

You get a call from somebody claiming to be with the IRS, telling you you owe back taxes of $1,253.28 and must pay right away with a credit card or wire transfer or face possible bank account levy, or deportation, or loss of driver’s license, and/or arrest within the next 48 hours.

You quickly pull out your credit card and give the perso all the information.

While talking to the person, the person asks you to verify your Social Security number, driver’s license number, birth date, and mailing address, which you readily give to the person.

A day later, you get an email appearing to be from the IRS confirming your tax payment and your account is now “current.” You breathe a sigh of relief.

A month goes by, you get your credit card statement in the mail and check it looking for the payment to the IRS of $1,253.28. You don’t see anything paid to the IRS, but there’s a strange charge of $16,823.00 that maxed out your credit limit.

You call the credit card company and challenge the charge, it unhappily reverses it and you think all is well. Still wondering in the back of your mind why you didn’t see the payment to the IRS.

Six months later you start getting bill collection calls about not making payments on your new motor home and three new credit card accounts that you didn’t know you had.

Your best friend advises you to check your credit and you discover somebody pretending to be you has opened bank accounts, started new credit cards, purchased a car and a motor home using your identity. Now your credit rating is shot because you haven’t been keeping any of these new debts paid on time.

Scary, huh?

Well, let’s get something straight first. The IRS never (did I say never? That’s right — never) uses the phone to collect taxes. It always writes letters. Why? Because it must document every step it takse with taxpayers, and it’s pretty hard to document phone conversations.

Only identity thieves pretending to be the IRS, getting you to gullibly give them everything they need to steal your identity, make such phone calls. If you ever get such a phone call, laugh loudly, and then just hang up.

Did you hear? Will Rogers once said, “Never squat while wearing your spurs!” Ouch!

We’re helping to celebrate Nevada’s sesquicentennial with an event at our office building: we’re calling it “Boots N Brew” on Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Come on down to help us celebrate, and don’t forget to wear your favorite cowboy boots and hat!

Kelly Bullis is a certified public accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 775-882-4459 or at BullisAndCo.com.