In a tax season marked by significant confusion over the requirements of the Affordable Care Act as well as several important changes to Maryland tax law, it is more important than ever for taxpayers to remain vigilant when it comes to compliance. Part of that necessitates gaining an awareness of some of the most common tax scams unscrupulous players are using to take advantage of the uncertain landscape.
We at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg stay fully abreast of these tax schemes in order to help our clients steer clear of trouble.
IRS alerts public to “Dirty Dozen” tax scams
The Internal Revenue Service recently published its list of the twelve most notable tax scams and avoidance techniques for 2015, the so-called “Dirty Dozen.” According to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, the purpose of the list is to build awareness about the ploys most often used to steal taxpayer identities and otherwise defraud the government and individual citizens.
Koskinen emphasizes the fact that scams of this nature can result in onerous financial penalties, fines and interest for those caught in them, and may also yield criminal sanctions for the most serious offenses.
Some of the most troubling methods used by tax scammers include:
- Phone scamming: Perhaps the most pernicious scheme of this tax season involves individuals who are impersonating IRS agents and making aggressive telephone calls to unsuspecting taxpayers. Many of these calls involve threats of arrest, deportation and other consequences to those who do not pay money or provide personal information.
- Phishing schemes: This involves phony emails and websites designed to illegally obtain personal information from taxpayers. The IRS does not send notices of tax bills or liabilities via e-mail and, therefore, links contained in these suspicious communications should never be clicked.
- Identity theft/preparer fraud: These schemes can involve individuals who hold themselves out to be reputable tax preparers who ultimately steal identities and file fraudulent returns in the names of others. They often persuade taxpayers to utilize their services by promising inflated refunds and other benefits.
Taxpayers themselves must avoid popular avoidance scams
Not all fraudulent activity is the result of predators taking advantage of the unsuspecting taxpayer. Unfortunately, all too often, individuals are tempted to employ a series of techniques intended to dishonestly reduce their liabilities.
Using abusive tax structures, making excessive or unearned claims to tax credits, hiding income with fraudulent documentation and sheltering money in offshore accounts are among the methods that can easily place taxpayers in jeopardy of serious enforcement action by the IRS.
When in doubt about the legality of any prospective tax strategy, the help of a skilled Maryland tax attorney can prove invaluable.
We can help you stay on the right side of the IRS
The Baltimore criminal tax lawyers at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg urge you to remain mindful of the tax scams and pitfalls listed above so that you can stay on the right side of the IRS. Failing to do so can expose you to serious consequences, including financial penalties, interest charges, and even criminal prosecution, in some instances.
Even if your tax returns are prepared by another party, you remain legally responsible for their contents. If you are in need of advice about a questionable or worrisome tax situation, or just need guidance on your overall tax strategy, contact the Rosenberg Martin Greenberg team at 410.649.4981, or email Leigh Kessler at email@example.com.