July 24, 2024

Phone displaying irs scam alerts.

getty

The IRS Dirty Dozen list for 2024 unveils the most prevalent tax scams targeting taxpayers and offers key advice on avoiding these fraudulent tricks. The following is a brief look at the primary scams the IRS has flagged this year and tips you can use to protect yourself:

Phishing And Smishing Scams

This fraud involves unwelcomed emails or text messages, pretending to be the IRS or related to tax matters, with the goal of stealing private details. To dodge these scams, avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unfamiliar or suspicious sources.

Fake Charities

Fradusters set up phony charities to exploit the generosity of taxpayers, especially during disasters. Authenticate any charity by utilizing the IRS’ Tax Exempt Organization Search before making any contributions.

Threatening Impersonator Phone Calls

Fraudsters pretending to be IRS agents intimidate taxpayers with threats like immediate arrest, deportation, or license cancellation if taxes are not immediately settled. Remember, the IRS first contacts taxpayers via mail, not phone calls.

Social Media Scams

Misleading tax guidance and promises on social media platforms are rampant. Always seek tax advice from professional, reputable sources rather than unrequested online information.

Crooked Tax Return Preparers

Some preparers may attract you with the temptation of unusually large refunds or fees correlated to the refund size. Choose a trustworthy tax preparer and avoid those who brag about getting larger refunds than others.

Promotion of Deceptive Tax Credits

This scam relates to making exaggerated claims such as overblown fuel tax credit requests. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone promising unrealistically large refunds or credits.

Scams Targeting Non-English Speakers And Seniors

These scams often include additional threats or misleading information and tend to target vulnerable populations. It’s crucial for communities to support their vulnerable citizens by providing information and resources in various languages.

‘Ghost’ Tax Preparers

These people prepare tax returns, but they do not sign them, indicating potential fraud. Ensure any tax professional you hire signs your return and includes their Preparer Tax Identification Number.

Unauthorized IRS Online Account Aid

Scammers may offer to help you set up your IRS online accounts in a ploy to access your personal data. It’s recommended to establish these accounts directly from the official IRS website.

Wrongful Use Of Trusts

Some crooked advisors might suggest taxpayers to transfer assets into trusts, including charitable remainder annuity trusts, alleging it will reduce taxable income or increase deductions. These schemes can be a legal maze and are often used dishonestly for tax benefits.

Abusive Tax Shelters

These are complex tax strategies that falsely promise tax benefits and are often suggested by unscrupulous advisers to dodge taxes.

Baseless Tax Arguments

This fraud involves persuading taxpayers to make ridiculous and groundless claims to avoid tax dues. The IRS has successfully nullified many such arguments in court.

To remain secure against these frauds and other types of scams, always validate information through the IRS website, guard your personal details meticulously, and seek advice from trustworthy tax professionals. Moreover, report any suspicious operations to the IRS or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I recognize potential tax scams?

There are red flags such as threats of arrest or immediate payment, unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS, and promises of unusually large refunds. If uncertain, refer to the IRS’s official list of recognized tax scams.

What should I do if I become a target of a tax scam?

Inform the IRS about this via their official channels. Avoid providing any personal information and remember never to make payments to unverified sources.

How can I protect myself from fraudulent tax preparers?

Select a credible tax preparer, ensure they sign your return and include their Preparer Tax Identification Number. Be wary of claims of exceptionally large refunds and fees proportional to the refund amount.