CHICAGO – January 23, 2017 - The IRS has announced that the start date for the 2017 Tax season is January 23rd. The IRS will begin accepting tax returns for 2016, both filed electronically and those filing paper returns.
Again, in 2016 tax scams led the list of the top ten; and with the IRS predicting more than 153 million returns to be filed, that is fertile ground for tax scammers. The IRS continues to increase its efforts against refund fraud, which includes identity theft. As a result of these aggressive efforts to combat identity theft from 2011 through November 2013, the IRS has stopped 14.6 million suspicious returns, and protected over $50 billion in fraudulent refunds.
However, IRS impersonation is on the rise.The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration recently projected that victims collectively have paid more than $50 million to scammers posing as IRS officials since October 2013. The average amount lost is $5,200.
"Unfortunately, across our service area, we expect there will be many consumers who will become victims of tax scams," says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "Our concern is that consumers are prepared to act, if or when they get a call or an email, and especially what to do if they fall victim."
TIPS FOR AVOIDING TAX SCAMS:
Bernas also notes, "Consumer should also understand the IRS doesn't threaten taxpayers with arrest, revocation of their driver's license or deportation. And, it doesn't request payment of an outstanding bill without offering taxpayers the opportunity to appeal the bill.”
This year the scams consumers are most likely to see: (A special thanks to the Internal Revenue Service for helping compile information to help combat fraud.)
The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent office within the IRS, offers free help to taxpayers having trouble paying their federal taxes.
Taxpayers needing help with state taxes can contact the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers for guidance.
Bernas says, “Tax preparer fraud is also a common issue. When choosing a tax preparer for their own protection they need to know all they can about who they are dealing with and what is being done on their behalf – to avoid losing money unnecessarily – and because ultimately they bear full responsibility for the tax return they submit.” For more helpful information: Tips for filing taxes:
https://youtu.be/bSHgylVEOG4 or Tips to help hire the right tax preparer are available on the BBB website. #AskBBB
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