Be on Alert for Tax Scams this Filing Season

1/22/2015 | Written by: Karen Reed, EA

With the tax filing season in full swing, the IRS has reissued warnings to all taxpayers to be on alert for tax scams. While they can take on many forms, the two most prevalent tax scams are phishing and telephone scams.

Phishing scams are emails that lure you to fake websites with the promise of a refund or a notice of a bill and then prompt you to provide personal information that is then used to steal your identity and/or personal financial information. Phishing emails appear to be from the IRS or a closely related organization, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

Telephone scams have been a persistent problem for many months, and they are continuing to cause headaches for taxpayers around the country this filing season. The calls are being made by criminals who impersonate IRS agents and demand immediate payment under threat of deportation, arrest, license revocation and other punishments. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration stated this month that phone scams have claimed nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively been cheated out of $14 million dollars.

The IRS does not generally contact taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. In addition, the agency never calls taxpayers to demand payment or discuss a bill without first mailing the bill. Detailed information on what to do if you suspect you may be a victim of a telephone or phishing scam are available on the IRS website.