The IRS releases an annual list of common tax scams for taxpayers to be aware of. During tax season, it is not unusual for criminals to try to commit fraud by targeting international students and scholars.
To limit your exposure to tax fraud, avoid clicking links in emails that appear to be from the IRS. The IRS will always initiate correspondence with you through letter notification in the mail. The IRS will never call or email a taxpayer to ask for personal or financial information or claim that you owe money. If you are contacted by phone or email by anyone claiming to be from the IRS, do not reply. Even if someone has personal information about you, do not pay any money, give any other personal information, or send any documents. If you are called by anyone claiming to be from the IRS, write down the information of the caller and report the scam to the IRS. You can also inform the MIT International Students or Scholars Offices.
When an IRS agent speaks to you, he/she will always provide an IRS agent identification number. In any telephone or personal conversation with an IRS agent, always ask for the agent’s name and ID number to save for your records.
Tax-Related Identity Theft
If someone uses your SSN or ITIN to file for a tax refund before you do, the IRS will assume you already filed and received your refund. When you go to file your return later, IRS records will show the first filing and refund issued. Your records could also indicate that you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work. You may also receive a notice or letter from the IRS stating that they have identified a suspicious return using your SSN.
Contact the IRS immediately if you believe your tax identity may have been stolen. To prevent identity theft, it is important to protect your personal data, including your SSN and tax records.
If you receive a notice in the mail from the IRS, read the letter carefully and respond within the required timeframe if a response is necessary. If you have a question, visit your local IRS office.
See IRS Publication 556 for more information on returns, appeal rights, and claims for refund.
The content in this website is provided for informational purposes only. MIT does not offer legal, accounting, or tax advice and services. This information should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a professional accounting, tax, or legal advisor. MIT recommends that students consult a tax advisor for individual tax advice.