IRS: What must taxpayers and tax pros be ready to do when they call the agency?

The IRS is continuously giving taxpayers and tax pros advice and warnings about possible scams and identity theft, and that is why they must now take extra actions when they call the agency. What must they be ready to do?

Every week the IRS, on its website and social accounts, warns taxpayers and tax pros about the risks of tax scams and identity fraud. What new precaution is the agency now taking when people call?

According to the IRS website, and as part of the agency's ongoing efforts to keep taxpayer data secure from identity thieves, taxpayers and tax professionals calling will now be asked to verify their identity.  

This is why, before phoning, people should visit IRS.gov to access resources like the Let Us Help You page and get faster answers to any tax questions they may have.

Those who, after doing this, still need to contact the agency on the phone, must know that IRS phone assistors only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer authorizes to speak on their behalf, and must therefore have the following information ready:

• Social Security numbers (SSN) and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return
• An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one instead of an SSN
• Their filing status: single, head of household, married filing joint or married filing separate
• The prior-year tax return. Phone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions
• A copy of the tax return in question
• Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer

If taxpayers or tax professionals are calling about someone else's account, they should be prepared to verify their identities and provide information about the person they are representing and have the following information available:

• Verbal or written authorization from the third-party to discuss the account
• The ability to verify the taxpayer's name, SSN or ITIN, tax period, and tax forms filed
• Preparer Tax Identification Number or PIN if a third-party designee
• Either Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, or Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative completed and signed.

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