Every year the Internal Revenue Service releases a list of the most common tax scams, and the 2012 list was recently released. Most of the scams covered are perpetrated by the taxpayer but this is not always the case, and this year some of the tax scams covered are scams that target taxpayers instead of the IRS and federal government. If you do not use extreme caution and protect your personal information closely you could end up being scammed, and this can destroy your credit, your financial stability, and even your peace of mind.
You can avoid being scammed by watching for the scams listed below. During tax season most individuals and businesses use some sort of tax preparation assistance,whether this is an accounting firm, a tax preparation specialist, a tax attorney, or another type of tax assistance. Scam artists love tax season, and these unscrupulous criminals can be found throughout the state of Ohio. The most common scams against taxpayers are listed below, and carefully choosing the firm or individuals who assist with your tax preparation needs can help you avoid these scams. Tax season is difficult enough without having to worry that your personal and financial information will be misused. The most common schemes and scams listed by the IRS in 2012 includes:
Fraudulent Tax Preparers
There are new requirements in place for tax preparers, and this is an effort by the IRS to ensure that all tax preparers are properly trained and follow ethical guidelines. More than 60% of American taxpayers will use a professional tax preparer or tax accounting firm to prepare their taxes in 2012. You should choose the tax preparer that you use after a lot of consideration. Any tax preparer who is legitimate and on the up and up will have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. This number is also referred to as a PTIN, and this number is issued by the Internal Revenue Service. Make sure that your tax preparer has this essential identifying number, and avoid any preparer that can not provide this number to you. Unscrupulous and fraudulent tax preparers do not obtain a PTIN but want to earn money preparing taxes, and these individuals often make mistakes or use your personal identifying information in unscrupulous or illegal ways.
Taxpayer Identity Theft
One of the scams that has seen a large increase lately is the identity theft of the individual taxpayer. This scenario is becoming more common, and can lead to financial difficulties as well as a lot of aggravation and time to fix. The scam artist steals the personally identifying information of a legitimate taxpayer and then files a false tax return that involves a large tax refund. The refund is sent to the identity thief and you end up experiencing big problems with your taxes and financial resources. If the IRS receives more than one tax return for your tax account a notice will be sent to you. Another obvious sign of identity theft is income reported on a tax return if you never worked for the employer listed. According to the agency website “The IRS is increasingly seeing identity thieves looking for ways to use a legitimate taxpayer’s identity and personal information to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund.”
Phishing is becoming a problem for taxpayers, and there are some scams that use this method that you should watch out for. Phishing involves emails that are not legitimate, and these usually advertise that they are from either the Internal Revenue Service or another agency called the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or EFTPS. The email will ask for personally identifiable information or financial information, and once this is provided your identity and/or finances are stolen. According to the IRS website “The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.” Never provide this information through an email or other electronic communication method. Report any suspicious emails that you receive which are supposedly from the IRS to the appropriate authorities at the site email@example.com.
Tax season does not have to be a nerve racking time if you use caution before releasing any of your personal or financial information. If the wrong individual has access to this information the results can be devastating. Alerting the IRS about any phishing schemes or tax scams will help prevent others from falling for these tricks as well.
If you have financial problems that are long term, due to identity theft, financial fraud, or any other reasons we can help. We are specialists in Ohio debt relief. The bankruptcy attorneys at Richard West Law can provide a free debt consolidation consultation to help you find the right answer for your unique debt problems and circumstances. You do not have to fear every time you answer your phone or check your mail, there is help available. Visit https://www.debtfreeohio.com or call (513)771-8700 or (937)748-1749 to get the answers you want, and the financial relief you are looking for.