Seven days or less! That’s how many days you have left to file your taxes, business owners. We are keeping very busy at Brigade Bookkeeping helping our small to medium-sized business owners to stay on time for filing. But while we are filing taxes, there are thousands of people trying to cheat you out of your money.
The IRS says scam artists are doing everything from making threatening phone calls to sending e-mails claiming to be the IRS. “We are doing everything we can to help taxpayers avoid scams as the tax season continues,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Whether it’s a phone scam or scheme to steal a taxpayer’s identity, there are simple steps to take to help stop these con artists,” he added.
Last week we introduced you to the first six scams on the IRS’ list of the 2015 “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams. Here are the last six tax scams found on irs.gov that the IRS says you need to be on the lookout for:
- Fake Charities: (IR-2015-16) Taxpayers should be on guard against groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to check if a charity is real. Be on the lookout for charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations.
- Hiding Income with Fake Documents: (IR-2015-18) Hiding taxable income by filing false Form 1099s or other fake documents is a scam that taxpayers should always avoid and guard against. The mere suggestion of falsifying documents to reduce tax bills or inflate tax refunds is a huge red flag when using a paid tax return preparer. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their returns regardless of who prepares the returns.
- Abusive Tax Shelters: (IR-2015-19) Taxpayers should avoid using abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes. The IRS is committed to stopping complex tax avoidance schemes and the people who create and sell them.
- Falsifying Income to Claim Credits: (IRS-2015-20) Taxpayers should avoid inventing income to erroneously claim tax credits. Taxpayers are sometimes talked into doing this by scam artists.
- Excessive Claims for Fuel Tax Credits: (IRS-2015-21) Taxpayers need to avoid improper claims for fuel tax credits. The fuel tax credit is generally limited to off-highway business use, including use in farming. Consequently, the credit is not available to most taxpayers. But yet, the IRS routinely finds unscrupulous preparers who have enticed sizable groups of taxpayers to erroneously claim the credit to inflate their refunds.
- Frivolous Tax Arguments: (IRS-2015-23) Taxpayers should avoid using frivolous tax arguments to avoid paying their taxes. Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. These arguments are wrong and have been thrown out of court. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000.
As a taxpayer, remember, you are responsible for paying your taxes, even if you are the victim of a scam or didn’t prepare the return yourself. That’s why it’s important to hire the right company to do your taxes and your books throughout the year. Brigade Bookkeeping is your trusted source, so feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or think you are a potential scam victim.
Good luck and here’s to a scam-free tax filing season!