The North Carolina Department of Revenue has issued a warning to taxpayers to be aware of criminals fraudulently posing as tax agents to collect fake payments.
Over the past few years, the NCDOR has received increasing reports of taxpayers being contacted via phone by criminals attempting to intimidate and collect payment for nonexistent tax debts. These tactics are continuously evolving and many involve impersonation of state and federal tax employees or could involve mimicking (or “spoofing”) legitimate phone numbers before redirecting calls.
“The North Carolina Department of Revenue is committed to safeguarding information,” said Secretary Ronald G. Penny. “This tax season, we are working harder than ever to prevent identity theft and stop refund fraud. We also want North Carolinians to know what the NCDOR will and will not do so that taxpayers can protect themselves from fraud.”
The NCDOR has regular processes and procedures outlined by statute which govern how agency personnel may pursue past due taxes.
Criminal Tactics That NCDOR Representatives Will Not Use
- The NCDOR will not contact a taxpayer in person unless the agency has first attempted to provide the taxpayer with notification(s) via mail.
- The NCDOR will not require a taxpayer to use any specific payment method unless the taxpayer is in the collection process for past-due liabilities. The NCDOR offers numerous payment options; taxpayers may choose the method that is most convenient for them.
- The NCDOR will not initiate communications to demand immediate payment from taxpayers via text message, social media, or email.
- The NCDOR will not demand a taxpayer pay taxes without first giving the taxpayer an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
NCDOR Representatives Will Verify Taxpayer Identification
- The NCDOR will require additional customer verification from taxpayers who call the agency as part of the agency’s enhanced identity theft security measures. This verification may involve Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Due to the NCDOR’s enhanced identity theft protection measures, some refunds may take longer than normal, which is 8 weeks for electronically-filed returns and 12 weeks for paper returns.
Communications with taxpayers can vary based on the type of transaction. Here is what taxpayers can expect when NCDOR does initiate contact:
- When a tax liability is in collections: Collection personnel may call or visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced to collect past due taxes. In the event an in-person visit occurs, NCDOR personnel have been trained to present credentials to validate employment with the agency. NCDOR employees will not visit a taxpayer until a notification has been sent to the taxpayer through the mail. Forced collection activities can be taken when a taxpayer becomes noncompliant with the North Carolina tax laws. Learn more about the collection process.
- When a taxpayer is being audited: Auditors may call taxpayers to set up appointments to discuss an ongoing audit. Auditors may visit taxpayers, but only after scheduling an appointment. In-person visits are preceded by an audit confirmation letter.
- When a taxpayer is being charged criminally: Investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced while conducting an investigation. These are Revenue Law Enforcement agents who are responsible for addressing serious, criminal tax violations, and prosecution of tax fraud. Please note: processes and procedures may differ for a taxpayer who is under criminal investigation by the NCDOR.