The 2015 tax season is now here full tilt. This means that everyone is thinking about taxes on some level. Even criminals. Tax criminals can range from scam artists pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), trying liberate you from your money, to tax cheats that utilize complex tax schemes to shelter their income, trying to liberate the government from their money. The IRS wants you to be on the lookout for tax scams … again.
This is the time of year that the IRS issues its “dirty dozen” tax scam list … again. And, again … it’s dreadfully familiar. This year, the IRS, over the course of twelve business days published press releases on the top twelve common tax scams that taxpayers should be aware of during the pending tax season.
This year’s list of the top twelve tax scams is essentially the same as last year’s 2014 dirty dozen tax scam list, which was essentially the same as the prior year’s tax scam list, which was essentially the same as the prior year’s list. The only thing more entertaining would be if the dirty dozen tax scam list was released annually on Groundhog Day, February 2, to esoterically pay homage to a very funny Bill Murray film.
Topping the list again is a repeated alert on how to try and identify that the person calling you is impersonating the IRS, to get you to pay them. Also on the list, again, is an alert to not falsify your income, expenses, and tax records, to claim improper tax credits and to take caution when trusting a tax preparer to prepare your taxes because, news flash, there are dishonest tax preparers out there.
If the top tax scams are truly the same year-to-year, then the IRS’ approach to stamp out these tax scams by issuing the same annual warning is not working. Are these scams always the top twelve tax scams because they’re the only scams that the IRS is aware of? Is there a conscious decision by the IRS to not alert the public of the other possible scams throughout the year? Is the IRS even paying attention to the person issuing its press releases, or are they simply on auto pilot cashing a paycheck at this point?
On the one hand, all of the tax scams mentioned by this year’s annual dirty dozen tax scam warning are still happening. So there still is a definite need to educate taxpayers on the tax scams identified as the dirty dozen. On the other hand, expecting the same tax scams to stop by simply issuing the same “dirty dozen” alert every tax year is lunacy.
This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.