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KSM Blog | Katz, Sapper & Miller CPA

Taxpayers, Take Caution: Scams for the 2016 Filing Season Pose a Threat

Posted 12:00 PM by

As we enter another tax filing season, KSM’s Tax Services Group wanted to remind everyone of at least two tax scams that you may encounter: phone scams and phishing. 

Phone Scams

Phone calls from people impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents continue to be a problem. The scam artists often demand a potential victim pay a fake tax bill with cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may threaten arrest, court action, license revocation or other acts. Please also keep in mind these scam artists may use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate and may know the taxpayer’s name, address and other personal information.

Callback requests may be made by automated robot calls or from phishing emails (the latter discussed in more detail below). Do not be fooled if the caller ID makes it look like the call is coming from the IRS or another government agency, as scammers may alter numbers in an effort to trick you. Rather than trying to collect a bogus tax bill, con artists may instead offer refunds to which taxpayers are not really entitled. 

In an effort to raise awareness of these types of scams, the IRS has released the following list of things that it would never do:

  • Call to demand immediate payment;
  • Call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill;
  • Require a specific payment method (e.g., a prepaid debit card) for taxes owed;
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Phishing Schemes

Scam artists may also use unsolicited emails or fake websites to get taxpayers to divulge personal and financial information. This information may then be used to commit financial theft or even identify theft. 

The IRS has advised that they will not send taxpayers an out-of-the-blue email about a bill or refund. Furthermore, they do not generally initiate contact with taxpayers by email (or other types of electronic communication that includes text messages and social media channels) to request personal or financial information. 

While we hope you never encounter any of these potential scams, please be aware they may be attempted at any point during the year.

Information from the IRS

The following link will take you to the IRS’ website page containing additional information regarding how to report phishing and online scams: irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing

About the Author
Ryan Miller is a partner in Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Tax Services Group. Ryan identifies innovative solutions to minimize taxes for his clients. Additionally, he oversees the international aspects of the firm’s tax practice helping companies and individuals navigate the complexities of doing business abroad.

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