The tax season means a new chance for criminals to place new fraudulent schemes into operation to commit identity theft and refund fraud. As tax professionals, the Thorgood Law Firm has an ongoing commitment to maintaining vigilance for such illegal practices and protecting the sensitive, personal data of our clients.
Every tax season, there is an increase in schemes that target innocent taxpayers by email, by phone and on-line. All taxpayers and tax professionals should be on the lookout for these fraudulent, deceptive schemes.
It’s tax filing season and criminals are in full force trying to implement fraudulent schemes and take advantage of the multitudes of personal data and information floating around the internet, mail, and phone lines. Taxpayers should be aware of the following tips to ensure that they do not become the victims of these various internet and telemarketing scams, since the financial ramifications may be devastating.
Taxpayers should remember that the IRS will NEVER:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed a notice of an amount due.
Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service announced it is beginning protocols for processing tax returns using the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). The IRS is sharing this information to help taxpayers, tax preparers, and other tax professionals prepare for the opening weeks of the 2017 filing season. The IRS is attempting to ensure taxpayers receive a correct and accurate refund.
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) was enacted in December of 2015, which made several changes to the tax law affecting taxpayers with families. This change begins Jan. 1, 2017, and therefore may affect some returns filed early in 2017.
In August, in anticipation of the new school year, the IRS warned taxpayers about scam phone calls directed at parents and students demanding payments for fake, non-existent taxes.
These scam artists call students and demand that they make immediate payment arrangements such as wiring money to satisfy a fake tax bill.
These callers often refer to a “federal student tax,” which, of course, doesn’t exist. When those targeted resist in any way, the caller then threatens to report the individual to the police, even stating that the consequence of immediate noncompliance is arrest. These types of cons are becoming more common each school year just around the time school begins in the late summer as scammers look for prime opportunities to target their victims.
Recently the IRS together with state tax agencies and the nation’s tax preparers warned that criminals are focusing their cyber theft crimes on tax professionals. Anyone that is a potential target of these cybercriminals should respond appropriately to protect clients from identity theft.
With this issuance of caution, the IRS provided new information containing safeguards to help tax professionals protect clients’ data. Known as the Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself campaign, it’s an expansion of the Security Summit’s 2015 Taxes. Security. Together program aimed at increasing public awareness for using security software, creating stronger passwords and avoiding phishing emails.
Possible Scams And Current Events: IRS Warns Consumers of Possible Scams Relating to Orlando Mass Shooting
The IRS recently issued a consumer alert about fake charity scams that may cultivate from the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., and encouraged taxpayers to avoid unknown entities and instead seek out recognized charitable organizations. The IRS provides easy to use online tools for taxpayers to check the status of charitable organizations when making a charitable contribution. There are simple steps that taxpayers are recommended to take when making charitable donations like those made to provide relief to victims of the Orlando tragedy.
In late May of 2016, the IRS issued a warning to predominantly student taxpayers about fake phone calls allegedly from IRS representatives demanding payment for a “Federal Student Tax,” a tax which doesn’t even exist. Despite the April tax deadline occurring over two months ago, IRS impersonators continue to contact students throughout the U.S. using various strategies to trick them into wiring money for failing to pay this fake “federal student tax,” usually threatening to report the student to some law enforcement authority if he or she refuses to pay.