By now we are used to reports of phony IRS emails spamming computers around the nation. We know that identify theft scams can result in loss of privacy, loss of property, tax problems, and countless hours of work trying to straighten things out with the IRS and other government agencies. The IRS has made it abundantly clear that they do not communicate to taxpayers via email, and if ever we were to receive an email that purported to be from the IRS, we can rest assured that it is a phony. We know to leave suspicious-looking emails alone (not open them) and immediately report them to email@example.com.
But now there are reports of phony IRS websites too (See IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2012-13). The phony IRS websites look much like the IRS e-services website, but don’t have the all-important .gov designation. There’s a fool-proof way of steering clear of phony IRS websites. If you find yourself on a website that begins with www.irs.gov then you know you are on the official IRS website. If it begins with anything else, it shouldn’t take a tax attorney to tell you that it’s not the IRS!