The IRS has once again published its “Dirty Dozen” – an annual list of the top 12 tax scams that taxpayers and businesses should be on the lookout for. Although many of these scams peak during tax season, the IRS warns that taxpayers should be vigilant year-round.
“Scammers are coming up with new ways all the time to try to steal info from taxpayers. People should be wary and avoid sharing sensitive personal data over the phone, email, or social media to avoid getting caught up in these scams” said IRS commissioner Danny Wertel.
The 2023 Dirty Dozen includes:
- Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) Claims:
Scammers have been promoting large ERTC refunds via the radio and internet to try to con ineligible people to claim the credit, in an effort to steal personal information.
- Phishing & Smishing:
Taxpayers should be alert to fake communications from scammers posing as legitimate organizations, such as the IRS and the states. Unsolicited text messages (smishing) or emails (phishing) from scammers attempt to gain personal information for identity theft.
- Online Account Help from 3rd Party Scammers:
Scammers have been posing as a 3rd party to help taxpayers set up their online account on the IRS website in order to gain access to personal information.
- False Fuel Tax Credit Claims:
Most taxpayers are not eligible for the fuel tax credit since it is meant for off-highway business and famring use. However, scammers are trying to convince taxpayers to inflate their refunds by erroneously claiming the tax credit.
- Fake Charities:
Scammers often set up fake organizations to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers’ generosity, especially in times of crisis or natural disasters.
- Fake Tax Return Preparers:
Often referred to as “ghost preparers”, scammers will pretend to be a tax professional in order to gain access to personal information. These scammers often refuse to sign the tax returns – which is a major red flag.
- Social Media Scams:
The IRS has seen fraudulent tax forms circulating on social media, encouraging people to submit false, inaccurate information in hopes of getting a refund.
- Spearphishing & Cybersecurity:
Spearphishing is a type of phishing tailored to a specific organization or business. The IRS warns that scammers are using spearphishing to gain access to client data and file fraudulent tax returns.
In addition to the scams listed above, the list also includes scams for high income filers, offers in compromise, bogus tax avoidance strategies, and international scams.
Tips to avoid scams:
- The IRS communicates via regular mail – they will never contact you via email, text, or social media. Do not respond to any outreach from the IRS that doesn’t come via regular mail.
- Set up your own account on IRS.com, never accept help from a 3rd party in order to do so.
- Only work with a reputable CPA, and make sure they sign your tax return with their IRS Preparer Tax ID number.
If you have questions about the dirty dozen or other tax scams, leave a comment below or feel free to contact me directly. I’m happy to help!