Scam Calls: Zero Tax, Biden Tax Forgiveness & Mary Fletcher

November 5, 2021 | By: Charles P. Corsello, EA

phone tax scamsAs I was going about my day, I received automated robocalls (one of many over the last few months) from a so-called Mary Fletcher discussing how as a state resident I may want to consider enrolling in the new tax compromise program provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. I also received another from Eva Smith, about the Offer In Compromise program that is “now open for enrollment.” As soon as I received the message, I knew it was false or misleading. Here is a transcription of the voicemails I received (and many others probably received) and what you should do if you are facing tax problems.

Transcription of a Voicemail Left

Hello. My name is Mary fletcher. State # FF694. This is a notification call from our Department of Tax and financial settlement services. The purpose of this call is to inform all us citizens on our state list about the new tax compromised program. This program is part of the American Rescue Plan put into effect by the Biden administration and is now open for enrollment. The new tax owed compromise program will allow you to significantly reduce or eliminate your taxes. Your taxes can now be considered temporarily non-collectible. However, you must elect to enroll into the program. Now it is only open for a limited time To enroll in the tax compromised program. Please call me back at my assigned number. This message has been marked completed by mary fletcher. State number FF.

Transcription of a Second Voicemail Left

Hello, this is Eva Smith, state Agent of the U. S. Department of Financial Services. The purpose of my call is to inform individuals on our state list that have federal back taxes and explain the Offer In Compromise program that is now open for enrollment and has come in effect. The offer and compromise program will allow you to significantly reduce or eliminate your federal back taxes. This can save you a good amount of money. However, you must select to enroll into the program. This will only be available for a very limited time. Please call me back on my state-assigned number xxx-xxx-xxxx."

Another Voicemail from a Woman Named Melissa

Hey, it's Melissa. I'm calling you from the TaxHelpCenter. Um Just following up with a message, I left you last week regarding your back income tax and I've got some great news for you with the new changes that have taken effect. And I just wanted to discuss your repayment or elimination options. As it's imperative that I speak to you just as soon as possible. Uh My phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. And I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day.

They couldn’t return the call with the same person's name? We couldn’t find a company called TaxHelpCenter online. 

Who Is Mary Fletcher or Eva Smith? 

We have no idea. Mary Fletcher says she works for the "Tax and Financial Settlement Services" department with State #FF694. Eva Smith says she works for “U.S. Department of Financial Services.” However, she fails to mention what state she is calling from and we are not aware of any state or government department called the "Tax and Financial Settlement Services Department." Nor are we aware of any U.S. Department called “Financial Services.” We believe both names are made-up by some tax resolution firm or tax resolution marketing company that is trying to scare taxpayers into calling the number in the voicemails. 

What About the Biden Tax Forgiveness Plan or Zero Tax Plan? 

In other unsolicited scam calls mentioned to us, we have received automated calls that mention the "Biden Tax Forgiveness Plan" or the "Zero Tax" plan. The Mary Fletcher voicemail mentions (as indicated above) that there is a new tax compromise program put in effect by the Biden Administration with the American Rescue Plan. There was no new tax forgiveness plan with the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue plan put forth many changes related to taxes including but not limited to: The child and dependent care credit, the maximum amount of tax-free employer-provided dependent care benefits, the childless Earned Income Tax Credit, and advanced Child Tax Credit. However, nothing in the bill as far as we can see provided a new type of compromise program for those that owe taxes. Eva smith mentions the “Offer in Compromise” program is now open for enrollment. It has always been available to taxpayers for years. It started in the 1970s I believe. When people hear of "tax forgiveness" it sounds like the IRS is ready to write off taxes owed, the truth is, they have a variety of tax programs available to anyone who qualifies.

Why Did They Call Your Phone Number?

You probably had tax problems in the past or requested help in the past from a tax resolution firm or a company that advertises on behalf of a tax company that helps taxpayers with tax balances they cannot pay off. 

What You Should Do If You Have Tax Problems?

The best way to resolve your tax problems is to work directly with a licensed tax professional who will be honest with you and let you know if you are a candidate to reduce your tax balance. Avoid ripoff companies that are mainly just sales and marketing companies, you can read this guide here on avoiding the worst type of tax resolution companies. You can use our site to find a professional by clicking the "Find a Tax Pro" button at the top of our website. At worst, they can get you back into compliance and stop the tax headaches. Our site is dedicated to helping you find local tax professionals that are experienced with resolving tax problems and in some cases reducing tax balances. 

Tax Resolution Is Real But Watch Out for Bad Actors

Tax forgiveness or compromising Federal income taxes owed is possible, but it is uncommon, and you have to qualify. One of the most popular ways to get your taxes reduced is through an IRS Offer in Compromise program which has been around for a long time. With regards to state taxes, some states offer similar programs but not all. Therefore, connecting with a licensed tax professional or calling the tax agency directly, is the best way to resolve a major tax problem.

Responding to a scam advertisement or fake IRS letter is not in your best interests, especially because in most cases you will be connected with an unlicensed sales representative and not a licensed tax professional. If you are looking to connect with a licensed tax professional that has experience resolving tax issues, you can start a search by clicking the blue button "Find a Local Tax Pro" at the top of our page and you will be shown matches based on the tax agency you have a problem with, the actual problem with that tax agency and the area of the country you reside. There isn't a best company to work with, understand a bit more about how to find the best tax relief company that meets your unique needs.