Watch Out for Common Tax Scams

taxes 150x150 Watch Out for Common Tax ScamsWhen I moved to Washington State from Idaho, I spent some time at the public library searching for state income tax forms. There weren’t any. Another patron told me that Washington State doesn’t have an income tax. I didn’t believe it at first, but it turned out to be true.

A friend of mine at the time told me his parents didn’t pay federal income tax, because the IRS was actually illegal according to the U.S. Constitution, and would be out of business soon. This turned out not to be true, and his parents are in big trouble. The “frivolous argument” is actually one of the IRS’s listed “Dirty Dozen Tax Scams” to watch out for. You can learn more about it, and other scams, at the IRS newsroom.

According to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, “Tax scams…may look tempting, but these fraudulent deals end up hurting people who participate in them.” The IRS and the Justice Department work together to shut down these illegal operations. Taxpayers who knowingly or unwittingly get involved must repay all taxes due plus interest and penalties.

Around tax time, thousands of emails, faxes, and phone calls begin circulating, claiming to be from the IRS. Know that the official IRS website ends in “.gov” for government only. Any IRS web address that does not begin with http://www.irs.gov should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov. Also, if you believe your personal information has been stolen and used for tax purposes, you should immediately contact the IRS at 800-908-4490.

Something else to consider: While most tax return preparers are professionals who provide honest and excellent services to their clients, according to the IRS, some “make basic errors or engage in fraud and other illegal activities.” You can always Start with Trust by checking out a company’s track record at www.bbb.org.

To learn more about the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams of 2011, please click HERE.

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.