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IRS Tax Scams: Who Made The Dirty Dozen List?


Posted in on August 31, 2018

Maryland tax attorney Kevin Thorn provides assistance to taxpayers who are at risk of civil or criminal action by the IRS as a result of alleged fraud or other tax crimes. There are many different types of misconduct that could result in taxpayers facing an IRS investigation, including keeping money offshore but not declaring it or claiming too many deductions or failing to report all income earned.

While the IRS is vigilant in preventing taxpayers from defrauding the IRS, taxpayers are also at risk of being defrauded as well. Many scammers target taxpayers, with some attempting to steal from those taxpayers and others aiming to help taxpayers evade their tax obligations to the IRS.

The IRS has recently released a “Dirty Dozen” list of common scams that target taxpayers, along with common types of fraud committed by taxpayers that could lead to an investigation.

The IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams

According to the IRS, the “dirty dozen,” top tax scams to be aware of include:

  • Phishing: Phishing scams target taxpayers by sending fake emails or websites claiming to be from the IRS in order to get personal identifying details or financial information.
  • Phone scams: Phone scams aim to convince taxpayers to pay money to scammers or to provide personal or financial information. Scammers claim to be calling from the IRS and may tell the call recipient they have to pay tax right away to avoid criminal penalties.
  • Identity theft: There are many instances in which scammers use the identity of taxpayers to try to claim refunds improperly.
  • Return preparer fraud: Unscrupulous tax preparers could hurt taxpayers in a number of ways, including stealing their identities or engaging in refund fraud.
  • Fake charities: Fake charities sometimes solicit donations from taxpayers, especially around tax time when taxpayers can take deductions for charitable giving.
  • Promises of an inflated refund: Some companies promise big refunds with the goal of getting taxpayers to turn over identifying information or sign a blank return.
  • Excessively claiming business credits: Some taxpayers claim credits they aren't entitled to, such as improperly claiming a fuel tax credit.
  • Padding deductions: Taxpayers who claim deductions they are not entitled to could be targeted by the IRS if they received a refund that was too large or if they didn't pay taxes they owed.
  • Falsifying income in order to claim credits: Some taxpayers lie about their income in order to become eligible for tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit.
  • Frivolous tax arguments to avoid paying taxes: Taxpayers who make frivolous claims about why they shouldn't have to pay taxes are unlikely to be successful with their argument and will likely find themselves owing back taxes and penalties.
  • Abusive tax shelters: Abusive tax structures are frequently used to avoid paying taxes, according to the IRS.
  • Offshore tax avoidance: The IRS has been cracking down on people who put money offshore to avoid paying taxes.

If you are scammed, it is important you report the scam to local authorities so an investigation can be conducted. If, on the other hand, you are under investigation or you are worried that you could be accused of a tax fraud offense or related crime that is on the IRS dirty dozen list, you should reach out to Maryland tax attorney Kevin Thorn to get help as soon as possible. We are available online or via phone by calling (240) 235-5096.

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