Tax season is scary enough for many taxpayers without the added stress of carefully avoiding tax scams. Just because you’re an accountant or tax professional doesn’t mean you are immune to the scams that can wreak havoc on your life. Here’s what you need to know as a tax professional about tax scams, how to help your clients handle them, and the most common ones to be aware of.
What Is A Tax Scam
As defined by the IRS, a tax scam involves a criminal(s) impersonating IRS agents, other government employees, or debt collectors over the phone, online, or through the mail to trick individuals into sending them money for taxes, penalties, or fees they don’t owe.
Common Tax Scams To Avoid
Several common tax scams to avoid as the upcoming tax season approaches are:
Pandemic-related emails - Phishing emails are a scam used against tax professionals and taxpayers alike. Most commonly, these emails target tax professionals that make remote transactions. Criminals are posing as potential new clients and tricking them into opening infectious email links to their computers.
Phone Scams - Phone calls from criminals posing as IRS agents or government professionals should be taken seriously. Scammers will likely try to pry for personal information and demand you pay them immediately, or they will threaten to bring local law enforcement to arrest you. They may also call requesting information on a recent tax refund.
Social Security Number (SSN) Scam - Scammers claim that your SSN has been suspended or will be canceled due to overdue taxes via phone or voicemail. When this happens, they also request you pay your dues immediately.
What To Do If You Are A Victim Of A Tax Scam
If you are a tax scam victim, you must immediately report the malicious activity to the IRS. Here are the steps the IRS recommends you take…
- Record the number and then hang up the phone immediately.
- Report the call to TIGTA using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form or by calling 800-366-4484.
- Report the number to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put "IRS Phone Scam" in the subject line.
- Do NOT click on any links in the email sent.
- Immediately mark the email as spam.
- Report the email to TIGTA using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form or by calling 800-366-4484.
With these helpful tips, you can be confident in warding off sneaky scammers during the upcoming tax season and help your clients stay safe.