For the third straight year, identity theft heads the IRS’s list of the top twelve scams taxpayers should be wary of during tax season.
The list, known as the “Dirty Dozen,” which the IRS compiles annually, includes a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But the IRS noted today that many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.
“Taxpayers should be on the lookout for tax scams using the IRS name,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a written statement. “These schemes jump every year at tax time. Scams can be sophisticated and take many different forms. We urge people to protect themselves and use caution when viewing e-mails, receiving telephone calls, or getting advice on tax issues.”
Tax fraud through the use of identity theft tops the Dirty Dozen list for 2014, as it did in 2013 and 2012. In many cases, a scammer uses a taxpayer’s personal information, such as his or her name, Social Security number, or other identifying information, to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund, the IRS noted.
The agency has a special section on its website dedicated to identity theft issues, including YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers, and an assistance guide. For victims, the information includes how to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit; for other taxpayers, there are tips on how they can protect themselves against identity theft.
The IRS emphasized that taxpayers should call the Identity Protection Specialized Unit immediately at 800-908-4490 if they believe they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information.
So, without further ado, here is the IRS’s Dirty Dozen list of scams for 2014:
- Identity theft
- Pervasive telephone scams
- False promises of “free money” from inflated refunds
- Return preparer fraud
- Hiding income offshore
- Impersonation of charitable organizations
- False income, expenses, or exemptions
- Frivolous arguments
- Falsely claiming zero wages or using false Form 1099
- Abusive tax structures
- Misuse of trusts