11 Feb 2015 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams
On February 6th, the IRS released its 2015 “Dirty Dozen” tax scams list, and also posted the 2015 version of “The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments.”
Compiled annually, the dirty dozen lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter during the busy tax time of year. Here’s the list:
- Phone Scams: Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents is an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has an increase of this activity recently, as the scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, and license revocation, if the taxpayer does not cooperate with their request.
- Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites attempting to steal personal information. Remember–the IRS will NOT send you an email about a bill or refund. Please do not click on one claiming to be from the IRS; always be aware of clicking on strange emails.
- Identity Theft: Tax time is high time for identity theft. The IRS continues to pursue criminals that file fraudulent tax returns using another Social Security Number.
- Return Preparer Fraud:Taxpayers should be on guard for unscrupulous tax return preparers. There are some tax preparers that just set uo shop for tax season to perpetrate tax refund frauds, identity theft, and other scams directed at taxpayers.
- Offshore Tax Avoidance: Be aware of financial organizations or such that show you how to hide money and income in offshore accounts. This should be a red flag!!
- Inflated Refund Claims: Be on guard for any tax preparer promising inflated refunds. Taxpayers need to be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank check, promise a huge refund, or charge a fee based upon the refund due the taxpayer.These scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts, and word of mouth via community groups and churches to line up their victims.
- Fake Charities: Make sure your hard-earned money goes to legitimate charities. There are groups that masquerade as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors.
- Hiding Income with Fake Documents: A recommendation to falsify documents to reduce a tax liability or inflate a refund is a huge red flag when using a tax preparer.
- Abusive Tax Shelters: The IRS is committed to stopping complex tax avoidance schemes and the people who create and sell them. Be aware of a tax strategy that sounds too good to be true, and that the promoter has little or no documentation from the tax law to corroborate their position.
- Falsifying Income to Claim Credits: Taxpayers should avoid creating income to erroneously claim tax credits. This is another tactic used by scam artists. Always prepare and file the most accurate tax returns possible because you are ultimately responsible for what is on the return.
There are is much trouble out there, so be on guard!!!