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Three Scams Every Taxpayer Should Know About

August 8th

In 2011 the IRS issued a list of the top 12 tax scams, known as the “Dirty Dozen.” These scams are all illegal and all come with severe penalties if caught. The following three in particular are all scams that the IRS is being particularly aggressive about pursuing, and are things that every taxpayer should be aware of.

Phishing Scams

Phishing Scams typically entail the use of false emails, websites or phone calls to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing their personal information. Often these sorts of scams will threaten nonexistent audits or investigations, or offer fake rewards, in order to gather this information.

Unfortunately, many people do not realize that the real IRS would never utilize these sorts of methods in order to gather taxpayer information. Phishing scams use the personal and financial information of their victims in order to access bank or credit card accounts.

 Hiding Income in Offshore Accounts

In recent years the IRS has become increasingly aggressive in its pursuit of those who attempt to evade United States income tax by hiding money in offshore accounts. The IRS has begun a serious crackdown on those who conduct abusive offshore transaction or even those who do not participate, but rather enable these sorts of schemes.

In February, 2011 the Internal Revenue Service announced its second voluntary disclosure act, which would allow transgressors to legally bring offshore money back to US bank accounts. This act will be available to the public through the end of August, 2011.

Filing False or Misleading Forms

It remains a common scheme for scammers to utilize information from family or friends to falsify their own tax returns in order to gain improper tax refunds. It is important to be aware and never accede to requests for such data. Also, be careful never to claim deductions or tax credits to which you are not entitled or willingly allow others to use your information to claim false refunds.

Even just participating in such schemes can lead to prosecution. IRS penalties these days include fines or even criminal prosecution.


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