UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Scams pop up all over the place during tax season and Union County State's Attorney Tyler Edmonds is reminding taxpayers to stay vigilant.
Edmonds is urging people to stay aware of identity theft and tax refund fraud associated with the April filing deadline.
Fraud has previously been reported in Union County and the State's Attorney's Office wants people to protect their identifying documents and information.
The IRS's annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams is below. The agency warns people to watch out for aggressive phone scams and email phishing scams.
- Phishing: Be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information.
- Phone Scams: The IRS has seen a surge of scams in recent years. Con artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things.
- Identity Theft: Though the agency is making progress on this front, taxpayers still need to be extremely cautious to avoid being victimized.
- Return Preparer Fraud: There are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers.
- Fake Charities: Be wary of charities with names similar to familiar or nationally known organizations.
- Inflated Refund Claims: Be wary of anyone who asks taxpayers to sign a blank return, promises a big refund before looking at their records or charges fees based on a percentage of the refund.
- Excessive Claims for Business Credits: The credit is usually limited to off-highway business use, including use in farming. Improper claims often involve failures to participate in or substantiate qualified research activities and/or satisfy the requirements related to qualified research expenses.
- Falsely Padding Deductions on Returns: Taxpayers should avoid the temptation to falsely inflate deductions or expenses on their returns to pay less than what they owe or potentially receive larger refunds.
- Falsifying Income to Claim Credits: Don’t invent income to erroneously qualify for tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Taxpayers are sometimes talked into doing this by con artists.
- Abusive Tax Shelters: Don’t use abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes. When in doubt, taxpayers should seek an independent opinion regarding complex products they are offered.
- Frivolous Tax Arguments: Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims even though they have been repeatedly thrown out of court.
- Offshore Tax Avoidance: The recent string of successful enforcement actions against offshore tax cheats and the financial organizations that help them shows that it’s a bad bet to hide money and income offshore.