Look for scams this year while filing your income taxes

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 6:23 PM

This has been the worst year ever.”The estimates as of Feb were $29 million lost nationwide and at minimum 0.000 in Georgia, said Green, noting those figures number doubt have increased since and were conservative to start with, because some people are too embarrassed to report they’ve been scammed.

Look for scams this year while filing your income taxes

It takes only a syllable to characterize the money victims are losing this year through tax scams.

“Wow,” is the one IRS spokesman Label Green chose, adding, “I’ve seen more scams, more identity thefts, more situations where people have lost a lot of money... This has been the worst year ever.”

The estimates as of Feb were $29 million lost nationwide and at minimum 0.000 in Georgia, said Green, noting those figures number doubt have increased since and were conservative to start with, because some people are too embarrassed to report they’ve been scammed.

But they should report it, because they ultimately are responsible for any taxes they owe, and the IRS can’t assistance them if they don’t file a report that prompts an investigation.

Such investigations in Columbus, Ga. and Phenix City, Ala. have yielded shocking results that repeatedly made news headlines. Consider this report from Jan. sixteen:

A federal judge sentenced a Phenix City woman to fifty-one months in prison for filing three hundred twenty-six fraudulent tax returns seeking more than $450.000 in refunds. Investigators said she was the codefendant of a woman involved in a $24 million scheme to steal victims’ identities for filing fraudulent tax returns. The codefendant was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison.

Those cases involved the breach of a state database from which the scammers stole personal information for filing the misleading returns. Frequently such schemes aren't so sophisticated, involving only a private tax-preparation business that either knowingly scammed customers or employed a worker who surreptitiously took advantage of clients.

While acknowledging many taxpayers using such services already have longstanding relationships with tax-preparers they trust, Green warns those shopping around to be additional careful — to defend their personal financial data with the same care they'd their health information while choosing a doctor.

The IRS maintains a ZIP-code searchable database of vetted tax-preparers online at . “These are folks who have registered with us,” Green said. “They have qualified, and taken tests.”

Taxpayers competent in computer utilize should be able to file their own taxes presently with number middleman, he said. Along with widely available commercial software, programs available online at practically do all the work. “It doesn’t authorize you to create mistakes,” Green said of such software. Type in the incorrect Social Security number, for example, and the program won’t accept it, he said.

Those who create less than $62.000 annually can file their taxes electronically for free through the agency’s “Free File” service online.

The more computer savvy can download an app that files the return using a photograph of their W-2 form. “If you’ve got a bright phone, you can do it,” Green said. The phone will scanning a bar code on the W-2 and get it from there.

Electronic filing is eclipsing the elderly paper forms folks used to rush to the post office to obtain postmarked by the deadline: Of the 4.7 million Georgians filing income taxes this year, 4.1 million are expected to do it electronically.

This year taxpayers will obtain a crack on the income-tax deadline, which will be Monday, April eighteen, rather than Friday, April fifteen. That’s because Washington, D. C., will observe “Emancipation Day” that Friday.

The holiday, which would be marked April 16 were that a weekday, commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s signing the Compensated Emancipation Act in one thousand eight hundred sixty-second. The act freed about 3.000 slaves in the nation’s capital while compensating their owners.

Green urges procrastinators to get advantage of the extended deadline to file their returns, even if they can’t afford to pay right away. Filing the return ensures they’ll be charged number interest or penalties, and they later can set up a payment map with the IRS when it mails them notification of their unpaid balance.

“The most necessary thing you wish to do is file the return,” Green said. The rest you can get care of later.

He well-known also that because of the egregious tax scams so prevalent now, the agency is more vigilant about inspecting tax filings to flag possible identity thefts. In suspicious cases, the taxpayer gets a mailed notice called a 5017C, warning that more information is needed to confirm the filer’s identity.

Some of those receiving these have been traveling to IRS offices and waiting in line to check their status, Green said. This isn't necessary, as a visit to the IRS website link or a telephone call is generally all that’s needed.

But the latter means a telephone call from the taxpayer to the IRS, not the other way around, he warned. Some scams are predicated on victims’ believing someone from the IRS called to obtain their personal information, sometimes with the threat they face consequences if they don’t comply. The IRS doesn’t create unsolicited telephone calls or send texts or emails seeking sensitive data, Green said. It uses the U. S. Postal Service.

Business owners necessity to recollect that, too, he said, because some employers have fallen for bogus IRS requests to look all their workers’ W-2 forms, and naively complied.

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