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Tax season starts in February. Watch out for scams

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2019 | Tax Law

It’s a new year, and that means that tax season is around the corner. Like many other Toledo residents, you may be starting to gather your documents whether you want to get your taxes out of the way or file them at the deadline.

As part of your preparation, you may be looking for some help, especially considering the new tax laws. During your search, you may want to remain cautious about the person you entrust this task to. The IRS warned taxpayers about several scams last year that could appear this tax season as well.

The fraudulent tax preparer

This scam begins with someone contacting you wanting you to update your financial or tax records. This individual, posing as a tax preparer, will ask you for sensitive information such as your bank account information, your social security number and more. In most cases, identity theft and just plain theft are the aim of this scam. By the time you realize what happened, you can no longer contact the individual.

The fraudulent phone call

In this scam, someone purporting to be from the IRS contacts you, requesting personal information, immediate payment or both. You should know that the IRS never contacts people by phone, let alone asks for your account information. The agency will also never demand payment immediately. You always have the right to contest the amount and/or ask for verification of it. The agency will also not threaten you with criminal charges or arrest over the phone for non-payment.

Another red flag involves the caller asking you to pay by prepaid debit card or specifying how payment is supposed to happen.

The phishing email

As the name implies, this scam involves an email communication from a dummy IRS site. Once you click on the link in the email, those on the other end steal your personal information. You should know that the IRS does not contact taxpayers via email, especially to request your personal information. The same rules apply as to the phone scam.

The final word

These are just three of the scams that fraudsters perpetrate on unsuspecting individuals during tax season. The only person you should discuss your tax situation with is someone you contact. This year, due to the new tax laws, many people could reach out to tax attorneys in their area to make sure that they do not miss any ways to reduce their tax liability or unknowingly file a return with incorrect information.