It's the tax season and the IRS has just published its "Dirty Dozen" tax scams for 2014 to warn taxpayers about unscrupulous scam artists who prey on the unwary.
First and foremost is identity theft, which has become so pervasive that the IRS has set up the Law Enforcement Assistance Program, which now helps in the investigation and prosecution of identity theft cases in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Others on the list include telephone scams; phishing; false promises of "free money" from inflated refunds; return preparer fraud; hiding income offshore; impersonation of charitable organizations; false income, expenses or exemptions; frivolous arguments; falsely claiming zero wages or using false Form 1099; abusive tax structures, and misuse of trusts. Phising involves email hijacking of information that is used to access the sender’s assets.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said taxpayers should be on the lookout for tax scams using the IRS name. And, because scams can be sophisticated and take many different forms, he urged caution involving emails, unsolicited phone calls or advice on tax issues from strangers.