LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – We’re in the heart of tax season with federal returns due on April 18, unless you ask for and receive an extension.
Every year, it seems bad guys are out to dupe you, and try to get your hard-earned refund, or even trick you into paying money that you don’t owe.
So the Internal Revenue Service has a summary of what the agency calls the “Dirty Dozen” of tax scams for 2017.
The annual list highlights various schemes that taxpayers may encounter throughout the year, many of which peak during tax-filing season. Taxpayers need to guard against ploys to steal their personal information, scam them out of money or talk them into engaging in questionable behavior with their taxes.
“We continue to work hard to protect taxpayers from identity theft and other scams,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers can and should stay alert to new schemes which seem to constantly evolve. We urge them to do all they can to avoid these pitfalls, whether old or new,” he said.
This is the third year the IRS has highlighted its Dirty Dozen list in separate releases over 12 business days. Taxpayers are encouraged to review the list on IRS.gov and be on the lookout for these con games.
In Nevada, IRS Criminal Investigation Las Vegas Field Office have worked many return preparer and identity theft cases.
Here is a brief recap of this year’s “Dirty Dozen” scams:
-Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a bill or refund.
-Phone Scam: Phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers.
-Identity Theft: Crooks file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number.
-Return Preparer Fraud: This is where dishonest tax preparers set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud.
-Fake Charities: Be wary of charities with names similar to familiar or nationally known organizations.
-Inflated Refund Claims: Be concerned about anyone who ask taxpayers to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before even looking at their records or charges fees based on a percentage of the refund.
-Excessive Claims for Business Credits: Avoid improperly claiming the fuel tax credit, a tax benefit generally not available to most taxpayers.
-Falsely Padding Deductions on Returns: Think twice before overstating deductions such as charitable contributions and business expenses or improperly claiming credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.
-Falsifying Income to Claim Credit: Don’t invent income to erroneously qualify for tax credits.
-Abusive Tax Shelters: Never use abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes.
-Frivolous Tax Arguments: Promoters of these schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims even though they have been repeatedly thrown out of court.
-Offshore Tax Avoidance: The recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them shows that it’s a bad bet to hide money and income offshore.