2018-03-21 / Front Page

Last Minute Tax Woes

By Liz Goff
Officials at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have issued a warning for last minute taxpayers to beware scams most often used by con artists who are out to steal your identity, cash and sense of security.

The scammers are out to get you at this time of year, when you’re anxious to get your tax return filed, IRS officials said.

“PHISHING”: this scam includes emails or websites that trick victims into providing personal information. It’s easy to spot, and even easier to avoid, officials said. “Just turn away when you get an email asking for your Social Security number or other personal information,” IRS officials said.

SHADY TAX PREPARERS: unscrupulous tax preparers are out there - out to steal and sell your personal information, IRS officials said. “Do your homework when choosing a tax service,” officials said. Choose a legitimate, well-known tax service that will safeguard your personal information when filing your tax returns,” officials said. “Choose a firm that guarantees to safeguard your personal information FOREVER,” officials said. “Get the guarantee in writing and continue to monitor your information on a regular basis.”

Stay away from tax preparers who charge inflated fees, promise guaranteed refunds, or require you to pay half the amount of your refund for the service, the officials said.

Contact your local Internal Revenue Service office to report any tax preparation service that encourages you to lie on your tax return, officials said. “Be aware that the individual that solicits this type of fraud can take you to jail with them, if you agree to go along with the lie,” IRS officials said.

Remember, by choosing an unscrupulous tax service you risk losing money and your personal information. Equally important is the threat that the IRS will audit your returns, or hit you for unpaid taxes and interest. And who wants the IRS knocking on their door to discuss the lies you included in your tax return?

Operators of shady tax services prey on people who wait until the last minute to seek out help with their income tax filings, officials said. “If you must wait until the last minute to file your taxes, be sure to use the services of a reputable firm or seek out help at your local IRS office.”

For more of the IRS “Dirty Dozen” tax scams, go to www.irs.gov.

 

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