We’re at the height of tax season (REMINDER: 9 DAYS UNTIL THE PERSONAL TAX FILING DEADLINE – YOU HAVE TWO EXTRA DAYS TO FILE THIS YEAR). I wanted to let you know about some important information that could affect you.
If you own a business, you already filed your taxes. Individual taxes are due in about a week. The government says this is the time of year to be on the lookout for potential con artists trying to scam you out of your financial information. Think you can’t be the victim of a scam? Well, think again.
The IRS says millions of people are victimized every year. That’s why the IRS has put out a warning to taxpayers and a list of what it calls the 2018 top tax scams of the season. They include:
- PHISHING – Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. You should be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites. They may be scams to steal your personal information. The IRS will not send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS because it will be a scam.
- PHONE SCAMS – Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remains an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation and license revocation. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
- IDENTITY THEFT – Taxpayers need to watch out for identity theft especially around tax time. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. The IRS is making progress on this front, but taxpayers still need to be extremely careful and do everything they can to avoid becoming a victim.
- RETURN PREPARER FRAUD – Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers. The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest high-quality service. But, there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. Return preparers are a vital part of the U.S. tax system. About 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns.
- FAKE CHARITIES– This is pretty low, but according to the IRS, there are groups of people who masquerade as charitable organizations to try to get donations from unsuspecting contributors. Be on the lookout for charities with similar or familiar names to national organizations. Don’t ever give out personal information, like your Social Security number, to anyone asking for a contribution. Never send cash. You should always ask for a 501c3 number. Include it on your check or your credit card payment to a real charity and save it for your records.
These are just five of the top scams according to the IRS. If you want more information about what the IRS calls its “Dirty Dozen” tax scams, check out irs.gov. And don’t forget, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me or anyone on the Brigade Bookkeeping team.