At the beginning of the week, the IRS released the 5th and 6th items from the annual list of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ tax scams to help bring awareness to taxpayers when filing their federal tax returns. The IRS continues to construct an annual list of tax scams for more than 20 years as a way to alert taxpayers and the tax community to be aware of the schemes and scams that scammers go out of their way to do.
Being cautious and aware are taxpayers’ best line of defense at the moment. The only site that taxpayers should be paying attention to and verifying information on is a trusted government website such as IRS.gov. Criminals are using the pandemic as huge leverage to scam taxpayers into giving their sensitive personal information and stealing money.
Economic Impact Payment and Tax Refund Scams
Identity thieves still to this day use stimulus payments as a gateway to con taxpayers. A quick reminder, most if not all eligible Americans have already received their stimulus payments so there’s really no need to answer any text messages, any random incoming phone calls, or emails regarding gaining SSN, personal, or financial information. The IRS only communicates by paper mail so any other connection of communication should be disregarded immediately.
Unemployment Fraud Leading To Inaccurate Taxpayer 1099-Gs
Due to the pandemic, many Americans lost their jobs and received unemployment compensation from their designated states. Identity thieves took advantage of the pandemic to steal personal information from individuals who haven’t claimed their stimulus payments and filed fraudulent claims for unemployment compensation. Unfortunately, these scammers successfully receive these unemployment compensations.
Fake Employment Offers Posted On Social Media
On various platforms of social media, there have been numerous reports of fake job advertisements and posts. Many people were unemployed as a result of the pandemic, and they were eager to find new jobs. The victims of these fraudulent posts are enticed to submit personal financial information. This increases people’s tax risks since this personal and financial information can be used to file a fraudulent tax return for a fraudulent refund or it can be utilized in some other criminal activity.
Fake Charities That Steal Your Money
Fake charities have always been an issue. A national crisis like the pandemic is like a playground for scammers. Here are some reminders and tips to remember about fake charity scams:
Individuals should be aware to never be pressured by a caller. A legal charity will gladly accept a donation at any time and will not rush and hurry you. Donors are asked to conduct their research before donating.
Potential charity donors should request the charity’s specific name, online address, and mailing address from the fundraiser so that they may validate and confirm it later. Some dishonest telemarketers adopt charity names that are very well-known and respected to deceive individuals.
Be careful how a donation is made. Donors should avoid working with charities that require them to pay by giving numbers from a gift card or by wiring money. Scammers use this method to get customers to pay. It’s best to pay using a credit card or a check, and only after doing some research on the charity.
Although most tax preparers are trustworthy and ethical, taxpayers should really be careful and cautious of “ghost preparers,” tax preparers refuse to sign the tax returns they prepare. The “ghost” will prepare the return for e-filing, but will not digitally sign as the paid preparer.
If you do not sign a return, it’s a clue that the hired preparer is trying to make a quick buck by promising a large refund or charging fees based on the size of the refund.
Untrustworthy tax preparers may also:
Only accept cash payments and will not provide a receipt
Invent income in order for their clients to be eligible for tax credits
Claim feign deductions to increase the size of your refund
Refunds are sent directly to their bank account, not to the taxpayer’s account.
Resolve Your Tax Bills
If you’ve found yourself in a nasty mess with the IRS, take a deep breath. For taxpayers who may have difficulty paying off an excessive amount of tax debt, there’s a new and improved relief program that consolidates many major relief programs into a one-size-fits-all assistance program. Any issues regarding back taxes, unfiled years, or any other tax-related problems may be solved through one program; the IRS Fresh Start Program!
How Simple Is Qualifying?
Considering that the Fresh Start Program is a federal program, you would think meeting the qualifications may be very difficult, but really, it’s a lot simpler and quicker than you think. Take the following steps in order to find out if you are eligible in as little as 3 minutes.
- Fill out some basic information about yourself and your back taxes here.
- Have a representative reach out to you to discuss your eligibility.
- Go through the enrollment process and finally reduce or eliminate your tax liabilities.