It’s the height of tax-filing season which means employees should beware.
The IRS recently released their list of the top tax scams – which they call the “Dirty Dozen.” These are scams that pop up at any time of the year, but they’re most rampant during the late stages of the stressful tax-filing season.
It’s a good idea for managers to spread this information around to employees. Consider including a copy with pay stubs or posting the information in a common area, like the break room.
Here are the top three scams for 2013, according to the IRS.
1. Identity theft
In many cases, an identity thief will use a taxpayer’s identity to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund. Last year, the IRS prevented $20 billion in fraudulent refunds from being issued to identity thieves.
Remember: Keep your Social Security number safe, as well as any tax forms that contain it. The IRS is encouraging victims of identity theft to visit the IRS’ ID theft section for information on taking action.
This scam relies on unsolicited email and/or fake websites posing as the real deal. For instance, if you receive an email from an address like “BestBuyOffers@bestbuy.com” with a link directing you to receive a free gift card, this is most likely a scam attempt.
But during tax season those phishing emails will be made to appear as a legitimate email from the IRS, telling you to click a link for an instant tax refund. The IRS does not communicate with taxpayers via email.
The agency says if you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Return Preparer Fraud
If you’re choosing to go with a tax professional to handle your taxes, do plenty of background research. Some shady preparers will use customer’s personal information for identity theft and refund fraud.
The IRS is reminding taxpayers they should only use preparers who sign the returns they prepare and enter their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Numbers. For additional information on this, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.