This past year, a British man named Giles Hembrough was contacted by the HMRC (Britain's tax collection agency) with a notice that he owed over 14 trillion pounds in taxes. To put that number in perspective, it's enough money to buy 93 million Lamborghini cars or 46 billion iPhones.
With Hembrough's current salary, he estimated that it would take him 369 million years to pay that income tax bill. He acted wisely, however, and quickly picked up the phone and called the HMRC to straighten the matter out. It only took seconds for the HMRC representative to agree that the number on the tax bill was a huge mistake.
Hembrough's story is a good example of how to handle any issues with taxes and the IRS here in the U.S.
Take It Seriously
First, it is incredibly important to take any notice from the IRS seriously. The most likely form of contact from the IRS will come through snail mail. If, in any case, you believe that the information contained in the mail is wrong, you should call the IRS immediately to remedy the issue. It is probable that there has just been a mix-up, as in the case with Hembrough.
Get A Professional On Your Side
If the notice from the IRS is not a mistake, it is essential to take action on unpaid funds as quickly as possible.
In the event of a tax dispute with the IRS, your first move should be to find a tax law attorney. It may be possible to save yourself a significant amount of money by working with a lawyer who is well versed in this area of law. If you do not have an attorney, you could end up paying more money to the IRS than you must.
Avoid Identity Theft
There are times when identity fraud is a serious risk. For example, the IRS will not likely call you on the phone but will send you something in the mail, as previously stated. If you are called by someone claiming to be the IRS, asking for personal information, or threatening jail time for lack of compliance, it is likely not valid. Crooks are usually looking to gain credit card information, in order to claim tax return funds under your name.
In a time when personal information is easily accessed, make sure that you are taking every precaution to keep your identity safe. This can be done very easily by avoiding giving out personal information on social media and other outlets, including even doctors' offices. A doctor's office has sufficient information from your health insurance and does not need your social security number to provide care. If a receptionist asks for your Social Security number, there is a possibility of attempted fraud.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to the IRS and taxes, it is important to take all alerts seriously. Whether you need to clear up mistakes, settle tax disputes or avoid the potential of fraud, do not hesitate to take care of these issues as fast as possible. If you have questions or concerns, talk with an attorney who can provide the legal guidance you need.