The state Department of Financial Services is investigating complaints by taxpayers about tax collection letters that appear to be government notices but are actually scam solicitations from private entities. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning New Yorkers not to be deceived by the scam.
The notices typically are being sent to taxpayers with outstanding tax debt and include such threatening phrases as “state tax warrant notice” and “bank accounts and asset seizure pending.”
“This tax season, New Yorkers should be wary of misleading collection notices posing as official government letters used by private entities to prey on taxpayers,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I urge anyone who thinks they have received one of these deceptive notices to call the State Tax Department or Department of Financial Services so we can investigate and put an end to these schemes.”
Recipients of the letters only learn the notice is not from the Department of Taxation and Finance when they call a toll-free number on the document. The businesses behind the letters claims to be able to remove the tax debt for a fraction of the money owed.
Any correspondence from the state include the letterhead of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. When taxpayers call the agency, representatives identify themselves and provide an identification number.
People who believe they have been the victim of this kind of scam should contact the state Department of Financial Services’ Consumer Help Line at 800-342-3736, and the agency will investigate the complaints.
Taxpayers with outstanding debt should work directly with the Department of Taxation and Finance to create installment payment agreements or, if they have serious financial problems, possibly reduce the amount of tax owed through the Offer in Compromise program. For more information, call 518-457-5181.
These are samples of letters that have gone out: