Dirty Dozen Tax Scams
- April 30, 2012
- David Greene
- Comments Off on Dirty Dozen Tax Scams
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Every year, the Internal Revenue Service publishes a list of the 12 tax scams agents are seeing most often. The annual list has become known as the “Dirty Dozen,” and it’s the tax-collecting agency’s way of warning taxpayers about scams they’re likely to encounter.
This year’s list includes identity theft, phishing and abuse of charitable donations.
Here are the scams the IRS considers the most prevalent and dangerous this year:
Identity Theft: The IRS is increasingly seeing identity thieves looking for ways to use a taxpayer’s identity and personal information to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund.
Phishing: This is a scam typically carried out with the help of an unsolicited email or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure potential victims and prompt them to provide valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, a criminal can commit identity theft or financial theft.
Return Preparer Fraud: About 60 percent of taxpayers will use tax professionals this year to prepare and file their tax returns. Most are honest. However, some prey on unsuspecting taxpayers.
Hiding Income Offshore: Many taxpayers have been identified as evading U.S. taxes by hiding income in offshore banks, then using credit cards or wire transfers to access the funds.
“Free Money”: Advertisements are circulating that taxpayers can get free money from the IRS by filing a tax return with little or no documentation.
Inflated Income and Expenses: Claiming income you did not earn or expenses you did not pay in order to secure larger refundable credits could have serious consequences.
False Form 1099 Refund Claims: In this ongoing scam, the perpetrator files a fake information return, such as a Form 1099 Original Issue Discount, to justify a false refund claim on a corresponding tax return.
Frivolous Arguments: Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe.
Zero Wages: Typically, a Form 4852 (Substitute Form W-2) or a “corrected” Form 1099 is used as a way to improperly reduce taxable income to zero.
Abuse of Charitable Organizations: IRS examiners continue to uncover the intentional abuse of 501(c)(3) organizations, including arrangements that improperly shield income or assets from taxation.
Disguised Corporate Ownership: Third parties are improperly used to request employer identification numbers and form corporations that obscure the true ownership of the business.
Misuse of Trusts: Some highly questionable trust transactions promise a reduction of income subject to tax.