The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers in America to watch out for this year’s dirty dozen tax scams.
Every year, the IRS draws up a list of con tricks and bad behaviour by crooks and taxpayers.
Just like Britain and Europe, the US suffers from a plague of scammers trying to steal cash that does not belong to them by posing as bogus tax collectors.
Here is the list of the top IRS tax scams for 2015:
- Telephone scammers pretending to be calling from the IRS to phish for personal information and bank account details
- Taxpayers making up feeble excuses about why they have not filed returns or paid the money they owe
- Over the top claims for fuel tax credits
- Hiding income to try to qualify for tax credits
- Sheltering cash and investments in secret offshore accounts to evade paying tax
- Filing false documents in a bid to pay less income tax
- Posing as a charity to attract donations from unwary donors
- Over inflating claims for tax refunds and crooks offering to arrange refunds if taxpayers sign blank returns or asking for an upfront fee
- Stashing money in artificial tax schemes to generate losses that reduce income tax
- Unqualified fraudsters offering to complete and file tax returns
- Identity theft
- Phishing phone calls and fake web sites seeking personal financial information
The IRS explained tax fraudsters tend to step up their activity during the tax filing system as more people are thinking about their finances and expect letters or telephone calls from the IRS.
Reporting a scam
“The IRS does everything possible to safeguard personal and financial information about taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
“But taxpayers have to play their part as well. These scammers will try every trick in the book and more so in a bid to find out someone’s bank or credit card details.
“Anyone who is unsure who they are talking to should hang up the phone or shut the door. If they are from the IRS, they will understand and do their best to show you who they are.”
Scammers and taxpayers trying to avoid paying what they owe face stiff fines and penalties, including criminal prosecution and even jail terms.
“We work closely with the justice department to close down scammers but taxpayers must realise they sign off their returns and have to take responsibility for the figures even if someone else has completed the return for them,” said Koskinen.
How to report a tax scam to the IRS