Can The IRS Call Me? Technically, Yes, But It’s Rare.


The IRS can call you. But most people never get a call from the IRS.

Calls from the IRS are rare

There are a couple reasons why:

  1. The IRS mainly sends notices because it doesn’t have the personnel to call taxpayers.
  2. The IRS wants to combat the many IRS impersonation phone scams.

The IRS will call you directly in only two instances:

  • You owe large amounts of back taxes (usually $100,000 or more).
  • You’re subject to a field audit.

In both of these cases, you’ll probably already know about the issue and the call before your phone ever rings. The IRS sends notices first, followed by a scheduled visit or call.

If you owe back taxes

The IRS will ask you to pay several times by mail before making any phone contact. The IRS does use third-party debt collectors for people who owe back taxes, but the IRS will always send a letter first letting you know about the collection agency that will call to collect your tax debt.

If you’re under an IRS field audit

These audits are usually limited to businesses and high-wealth people, and the IRS would formally announce the audit by mail, with a request for information. These days, field audits are rare – and taxpayers almost always get a letter about the audit in advance.

Beware IRS impersonators

IRS impersonator calls can be unsettling, because the caller demands payment and threatens legal and criminal consequences. In these instances, rest assured that the call is fake, because you’ll always get an IRS notice in advance.

The answer here: Just hang up. An IRS impersonator is trying to scam you out of your money.

Yes, the IRS can call you – but it will not be a surprise

If you owe a lot of taxes or you’re under a field audit, you will have received a notice before the IRS calls.

If the IRS has called you in one of those situations, you’ll need to get back into compliance. Your tax pro can get to the bottom of your issue and deal with the IRS for you. Learn more about H&R Block’s Tax Audit & Notice Services.

Get help from an IRS expert

H&R Block’s experts can solve any IRS problem, no matter how complex.

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