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Beware phone tax scammers!

Did you get a phone call last year from someone telling you they were from the IRS and there was a warrant out for your arrest?

I did. It was one of the more aggressive scams I’ve come across, and rather convincing, with the caller giving me a name, an IRS badge number, and a phone number to call back to arrange for payment. Criminals have developed increasingly sophisticated schemes for convincing people that the IRS–or the police department–is out to get them.

Let’s clarify, right here at the start of tax season:
–The Internal Revenue Service does NOT initiate contact with taxpayers or request information by email, text messages or social media sites.
–The IRS does not call to demand payments, and does not call about taxes at all, without first communicating with you through the U.S. Postal Service.
–The IRS never tells you it is giving your name to local police or other law-enforcement agencies.

Alas, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about these scams before the end of tax season. In the meantime, here’s a column by Kelly Phillips Erb in Forbes , about some of the scams people encountered last year, and information from the IRS on how to smell a scam.

“Nightmare” Republican tax bill brings year-end chaos for homeowners

Homeowners across the country looked to battle the coming $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions by paying their 2018 property taxes in advance. Now the IRS has announced that only property taxes that have been assessed can be deducted in 2017. The announcement did little to clarify who can take a deduction now… Continue Reading

Are you an audit target? Here’s the latest scoop from them that (might) know.

Who’s most likely to get audited by the IRS this year? According to Debra Estrem, Managing Director of the scarily-named Tax Controversy Group at Deloitte Tax LLP, the service is going to be focusing more on the wealthiest taxpayers, but is also going to be focusing on people with unusually large deductions and business losses.… Continue Reading

IRS should drop “service” from its name

How hard was it for taxpayers to deal with the IRS this past filing season? A new report, outlined by Government Executive and other publications, says that the agency didn’t even answer the phone — as in, pick up a call — almost 9 million times. Of those calls that were picked up, only 37%… Continue Reading

Hastert and FIFA cases prove the oldest rule in the book: Follow the money!

What does Dennis Hastert’s indictment on apparently Very Very Bad Horrible Terrible Behavior (kudos to Kaili Joy Gray of Wonkette) and the FIFA bribery and kickback scandal (New York Times version here) have in common? They both in part involve people charged with trying to hide or disguise transfers of money—something that is of tremendous… Continue Reading