Some tax advice is not worth the hot air that pushes it out of a crooks mouth. The IRS has put together a list of a dozen tax season pitfalls that Americans need to be on the lookout for.
Some items on the list are about things that tax filers should refrain from doing, such as falsifying documents or trying to claim credits to which they are not actually entitled. If you try to get a tax preparer to engage in that behavior with you, the IRS' tax advice to you is that your preparer might turn you in.
"The mere suggestion of falsifying documents to reduce tax bills or inflate tax refunds is a huge red flag when using a paid tax return preparer. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their returns regardless of who prepares the returns."
Other tax advice from the IRS includes looking out for these perennial offenders.
Phone Scams: These include "aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents... Scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things."
Return Preparer Fraud: The IRS calls these "unscrupulous return preparers... There are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers."
Inflated Refund Claims: While there was the above warning to taxpayers to not try to inflate their own refund claims, the IRS also warns about scams that claim to be able to inflate your refund beyond what you are legally allowed. "Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund. Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts and word of mouth via community groups and churches in seeking victims."
Phishing: While this is a problem all year long, the IRS warns about particular dangers of "fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information" during tax season. Always remember: "The IRS will not send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS that takes you by surprise."
Identity Theft: Another year-round problem, but it rears its head even more during tax season because of all the confusion and paperwork already inherent in the process. This includes person who "file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number."