The Internal Revenue Service has issued its 2010 “dirty dozen” list of tax scams, including schemes involving return preparer fraud, hiding income offshore and phishing fraud schemes.
In a statement, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said that “Taxpayers should be wary of anyone peddling scams that seem too good to be true.” Tax schemes are illegal and can lead to imprisonment and fines for both scam artists and taxpayers. Taxpayers who find themselves victims of these schemes must repay any unpaid taxes plus interest and penalties.
Some tax-related fraud can lead to, or is related to identity theft.
During tax season the number one complaint from consumers, identity theft, increases. And the IRS is well aware of it. On the IRS website, http://www.irs.gov/
, there is an article dedicated to "Identity Theft and Your Tax Records."
In this article the IRS gives information on how to protect yourself from tax related identity theft and steps for alerting the IRS if you believe your identity has already been stolen. The IRS makes it very clear at the beginning of the article that the IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers using email. So - if you receive an email message that looks like it came from the IRS, it is a scam. While it's always important to protect your personal and financial information, it is especially important to be vigilant during tax season!
Also important is the IRS article "Suspicious E-Mails and Identity Theft,"
which includes links to various IRS documents warning of tax refund phishing scams, tips on how you can shut down phishing scams, tips on how to protect your identity, descriptions of recent schemes and how to report suspected fraud to the IRS.