1-800Accountant Offers 5 Tips to Avoid Tax Scams in 2015

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A recent phone scam affected nearly 400,000 innocent taxpayers, and this is just one of many recent tax scams out there. 1-800Accountant offers tips on how to avoid tax scams in 2015 and beyond.

Tax scams are extremely prevalent these days. In fact, taxpayers are probably quite lucky if they never get contacted by a fraudster trying to scam them out of personal information or money. In early 2015, nearly 400,000 taxpayers received phone calls from scammers posing as IRS agents and demanding payments over the phone. They succeeded in their schemes as they made millions of dollars – and will probably pocket even more as the year goes on. (NBC Los Angeles, 3/12/15, http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/IRS-Warns-Against-Phone-Scam-Targeting-Taxpayers-296150761.html)

To help taxpayers remain free from any issues, here are some quick tips to avoid tax scams in 2015 and beyond:

-- Look out for phone communication from unfamiliar individuals.

Phone scams are a huge problem for countless American taxpayers. Scammers are calling potential victims, posing as IRS agents with fraudulent badge ID numbers, and then demanding payments in various forms and for various reasons. If someone calls with a story like this, be on guard. Never give out a credit card number over the phone to someone using any of these tactics. Even if someone avoids answering a call, there’s a chance the fraudster will leave an urgent voicemail demanding a return phone call.

-- Never respond to e-mails appearing to be from the IRS.

The IRS will never communicate with taxpayers via e-mail. In fact, there is no reason anyone at the IRS should even have an e-mail address on file for a taxpayer, unless someone specifically provides an e-mail address to a legitimate IRS representative. So any e-mails that come from an address or domain name with “IRS” in them are likely from a scammer. Remember that the IRS almost always communicates with taxpayers by regular snail-mail.

-- Avoid giving out a Social Security Number.

Unless it’s an absolute must, taxpayers should always avoid providing their Social Security Number to anyone. A Social Security Number can help a scam artist unlock someone’s personal life and information, allowing a fraudster to file tax returns on someone else’s behalf and claim refund money that an innocent victim should be receiving. Never give out a Social Security Number by phone or online, unless there is a completely legitimate reason to provide it. It’s wise to be wary of including this number on a printed document as well.

-- Be an early bird tax filer.

While the 2015 tax season is coming to a close soon, remember for future reference that filing a tax return early can help taxpayers steer clear of fraudsters. The main reason for this is that scammers often file fraudulent returns on behalf of victims, and then they try to get refund money that should be going to a legitimate recipient. By filing early enough, taxpayers won’t have to worry about a scammer filing a return in their name.

-- Use a reputable accounting firm.

Some taxpayers find it convenient to file their taxes themselves using tax software. But it’s not always the safest route to take. Letting a reputable accounting firm prepare and file one’s taxes with the IRS reduces the chances of a tax scam or tax fraud affecting the filing process. Some tax preparers have been found to be tax fraudsters themselves, so it’s critical to determine whether a tax preparer is reputable.

According to Brendon Pack, Vice President at 1-800Accountant, tax scams have been on the rise in recent years.

“Thanks in large part to technology and other factors, tax scams are affecting more innocent victims than ever,” Pack said in a statement. “1-800Accountant is here to help all taxpayers avoid these schemes to ensure their taxes are prepared and filed in a timely manner – and that they receive any refund payments they are due from the IRS.”

To best avoid these heinous tax scams, partner with 1-800Accountant today. Call 727-350-9655, send an e-mail to 1on1(at)1800accountant(dot)com, or visit http://www.1800accountant.com for a free tax consultation.

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Greg Lindberg
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