Every year, the IRS publishes its list of 12 popular tax scams to enlighten the public about the latest ways scammers try to dupe innocent taxpayers. You might well lose not only money but your reputation as well if you fall prey to a tax scam. In the final analysis, you are responsible for what goes into your tax returns even though it was prepared by someone else. So make sure you hire a qualified tax agent or lawyer to help you submit your tax returns. Here are this year’s “Dirty Dozen”.
- Bogus phone calls
This is a perennial tactic used by scammers where they impersonate an IRS officer asking you for your personal financial details. Very often the caller uses a very aggressive tone to get what they want.
- Phishing scams
Another recurring method used by scammers is sending you emails (or snail mail) supposedly from the IRS. Remember, the IRS will never send you an email for no reason, so if you do get one do not click on any of the links inside or reply to the email. Instead, you should report it to the IRS immediately by forwarding the email to email@example.com.
- Identity theft
Another favorite tactic of scammers is impersonating as a taxpayer and claiming the victim’s tax refunds. This is why it’s a good idea to submit your taxes early so that should a scammer try to impersonate as you, the IRS would flag his tax return because it has already received yours.
- Fraudulent Tax Preparer
Tax season is here. This is the time of the year when dishonest preparers offer you their ‘services’ to steal your refund or financial information. When it comes to tax returns, spend the little extra by hiring a qualified tax agent or lawyer.
Don’t try hiding your taxable assets in offshore banks. There is no ‘safe tax haven’ anymore. Remember what happened to UBS Bank of Switzerland? Their officers were helping wealthy US citizens hide their taxable income in their bank. But the bank ended up having to pay a hefty fine to avoid criminal prosecution. And their US clients were also rounded up in the dragnet as the IRS went in pursuit of the tax cheats.
- Over-the-top Tax Refunds
If someone is promising he can get you a tax refund that sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Scammers look for victims by setting up phony store fronts or advertising with flyers and word of mouth in community groups and churches. Don’t be fooled.
So here are the six of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. In my next article, I shall cover the next six scams highlighted by the IRS. Stay tuned.