Every year during tax season, new tax scams try to take advantage of American taxpayers. The IRS works to weed out and combat these threats to reduce the odds of taxpayers falling victim to a scam. Despite the efforts of the IRS, there is not nearly enough manpower to monitor all these threats. Each taxpayer should be aware of the scams that suddenly appear during this time period. The professional tax consultants at our Miami accounting firm have listed the top eight scams to look out for this tax season.
Over the years, identity theft has proven to be one of the most common tax scams. Falling victim to identity theft entails someone else stealing your personal information and using the data to make purchases or filing fraudulent tax returns. In order to avoid this scam, it’s important that you’re aware to whom you give this information. This includes: credit and debit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account information, mailing address and phone number.
Phone scams happen when someone calls from an unfamiliar or blocked number and inquires about your personal information. Be cautious about what information you give. We recommend that if they’re calling as an IRS agent or someone looking for money that you ask for their information and offer to call them back. You can also ask them to send you information in the mail verifying who they are.
As technology has advanced, so have the methods of scamming. Email phishing involves an official-looking email being sent to you with terms like “irs”, “government” or “.gov” in the subject line. Typically this email also inquires about your personal information. In the event that you receive this type of message, do no respond! The IRS never communicates with taxpayers via email.
These scammers are those that claim they can get their clients “free money” or inflated tax refunds. Many individuals who file their taxes with the IRS do not receive tax refunds, and if they do it’s only a couple thousand at most. If someone claims that they will send you this “free money” in the mail, chances are you won’t receive it at all.
Sometimes these individuals represent themselves as authorized tax preparers. These “tax preparers” try to convince taxpayers to let them prepare and file their taxes. If you are in the market for a tax preparer, we suggest you search for a professional who is licensed, certified or associated with a reputable company or accounting firm, such as Verdeja, De Armas & Trujillo, LLC.
If you are ever offered the opportunity of offshore banking, whether the individual who offers will reap the benefits of it or not, you should not take the risk. IRS agents are very vigilant when it comes to unique aspects of someone’s tax return. Any money in an offshore bank account could send up a red flag during an audit.
Those who pose as representatives for a charitable organization usually appear after a natural disaster. Their goal is to collect money, personal identification information and financial records or to file a casualty loss claim for the taxpayer. If someone matching this description approaches you, know that they have no ability to do this or reason to collect all that information from you.
Some scammers attempt to convince people to transfer money or assets into a trust fund. This, in turn, reduces how much taxable income they can report on their return. Whether you are conned into doing it or you do it yourself, be aware that this practice is illegal.
At Verdeja, De Armas & Trujillo, LLC, the qualified staff at our Miami accounting firm would like to ensure that you successfully file your taxes without encountering any of the eight scams mentioned above. Our team of dedicated professionals in our tax department provides tax consulting and compliance services to individuals, corporations, S corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, trusts and estates and non-profit entities. Contact us today for a consultation!