HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – If you’re expecting a tax refund but it hasn’t arrived, you may be one of a growing number of taxpayers who have been flagged by the Internal Revenue Service.
They are sending 5071-C letters through the mail to help prevent fraud. This specific letter is legitimate and is from the IRS, but people may be skeptical when they receive it because scams are at an all-time high.
Our sister station WSPA spoke with tax preparer Dan Thomas, an IRS enrolled agent, who says it’s out of caution.
“It’s just the IRS taking preventative actions on the front end to keep them from issuing refunds to someone that it doesn’t belong to,” said Thomas.
Until the IRS gets confirmation that it truly is you, you won’t get your money.
Elizabeth Garcia, the CEO and president of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama wants you to remember it will only come as a letter through the mail.
“You will not receive a text,” said Garcia. “You will not receive an email and you will not receive a call from them saying that this is an issue until you initiate further conversation with them.”
The big thing is that you need to know the difference between a fake letter and the real thing.
“The letter will be personalized,” she added. “It will have your name and address. It will have your name in the salutation. It will not be generic: Dear Sir/Madam, or To Whom It May Concern, or Dear Taxpayer.”
Garcia says skepticism is key and it’s a good idea to verify the letter with the IRS if you’re concerned.
“There is one caution with that,” said Garcia. “Whenever you call the IRS, be prepared for a long wait time on the telephone. However, if you’re trying to clear up this issue, it’s probably worth your while to wait that time to talk to a real person.”
Though you may have a long wait time, confirming the letter is legitimate could be the difference between getting your tax refund or getting your identity stolen.