June 15, 2024

A member of our VERIFY team recently received a phone call which claimed to be from a tax preparer offering help with tax debt relief. Given the approaching tax deadline of April 15, it’s important to understand how to recognize and avoid potential tax scams.

The individual received a voice message from a person purporting to be a representative of The Tax Group. The message claimed that the recipient could potentially have unpaid taxes from past years and that The Tax Group could help them get cleared through a program called the Zero Tax Initiative.

QUESTION

Could this call from The Tax Group be a scam?

SOURCES

– [Internal Revenue Service (IRS)](http://irs.gov)
– [Better Business Bureau (BBB)](http://bbb.org)
– [Mark Steber, Jackson Hewitt](https://www.jacksonhewitt.com/about-jackson-hewitt/editorial-policy/mark-steber/)

ANSWER

![This might be a scam](https://investmentshoax.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/badge-true.png)

There are multiple indicators suggesting that the call could be a scam.

WHAT WE FOUND

Several complaints have been lodged regarding suspicious calls from individuals using the name of The Tax Group, a small business in Redding, California. The Better Business Bureau also warns that The Tax Group LLC is being replicated by fraudsters.

Furthermore, several Reddit users described similar voicemail messages. “Bill” used the same call back number, although the calls came from different numbers.

Official searches on the [IRS’ website](https://www.irs.gov/site-index-search?search=%22zero+tax+initiative%22&field_pup_historical_1=1&field_pup_historical=1) yielded no results for a ‘Zero Tax Initiative’.

Mark Steber from Jackson Hewitt says tax professionals cannot legally access your tax history without your express authorization. The IRS also warns of scam activity spike, particularly around tax season, targeting vulnerable individuals such as seniors or non-native English speakers.

For further information on tax scams and how to report them, visit the [IRS website](https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scamsconsumer-alerts). If you receive a suspicious tax-related message, consult a reputable tax preparer, who can quickly verify its authenticity. Remember, the IRS never initiates contact by phone, text, or email.

FAQs

How can I identify a tax scam?

Recognizing a tax scam can be tricky, as scammers often appear credible. However, key red flags include unsolicited contacts about unpaid taxes, requests for immediate payment, threats of arrest or deportation, or insistence on a specific form of payment.

Does the IRS call to demand immediate payment?

No. The IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe taxes. They will never demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will they demand that you pay your taxes a certain way–for example, with a prepaid debit card.

What should I do if I suspect a tax scam?

Should you receive a call or email you suspect is fraudulent, don’t provide any information. Instead, report tax scams to the IRS immediately. You can report IRS-related phishing attempts by forwarding the suspicious email to phishing@irs.gov. Tax fraud can be reported using Form 3949-A.