As Americans continually search for tax relief they can too easily allow themselves to become victims of tax scams. In order to make the most of your tax relief options this year keep the following points in mind when it comes to protecting yourself against tax scams.
There is a concept of tax scams and other types of scams called “phishing”. This refers to email marketing that is unsolicited, pointing the user to a bogus website. The problem is that the email and the website can look official, creating confusion and inviting the user to enter personal information which is used for nefarious purposes. Well meaning Americans who are looking for help with tax information can unwittingly provide valuable, personal information that opens up the window to tax scammers.
In order to avoid this tactic keep in mind that the IRS will never contact you through email asking for any kind of personal information. The IRS will not contact you electronically at all either through text messages or other types of electronic communications. If you are ever approached in this way it is important to report the fraudulent actions to the IRS to help prevent further victimization.
Another scam rising in popularity is the concept of money being given away by the IRS or supposed money owed to you through social security. These scams often come in the form of a paper advertisement such as a flyer and are dispersed in low-income communities where people are desperate for money. Targeted populations often include older people who are easily conned into believing that they have the right to some type of government stimulus money.
These scam artists work by building false hopes based on making outrageous claims of government money ‘owed’ due to misquoted federal aid programs. These scams also revolve around false promises of a social security credit or rebate, which, of course, is non-existent.
Some fraudulent tax preparers make it a point to victimize taxpayers by offering tax benefits based on inflated or falsified information. If the taxpayer signs the returns with any kind of inflated information in hopes of getting some tax relief there is a hefty $5,000 penalty that results from intentional misinformation.
Choosing to include income that was not actually earned in order to try and make the most of potential tax credits is becoming a more popular way of seeking tax relief in a fraudulent manner. When taxpayers choose to exploit the system in this way, they end up being hit with penalties for falsifying information, being required to pay back all refunds along with additional fines. In some cases taxpayers may also face legal consequences such as prosecution, which may even, be on a criminal level, depending on the level of intentional misinformation.
When preparing for the 2014 tax season make sure to work with a well qualified, tax preparation service and take care of avoid all appearances of misrepresentation of IRS agencies. Remember that many forms of false advertising and misinformation are run by scam artists who prey on those who are easily led to believe things that are too good to be true. Report any knowledge that you find concerning tax scams in order to help less informed, and therefore more vulnerable, parts of the population be more protected from this type of victimization.