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Dirty Dozen 2022: Pandemic Related Scams

                 Criminals are often adjusting their tactics to confuse people about what they are really after. Other times, they will stick to what works. This is the case with scams related to the pandemic. Here are a few of the more common frauds that have been used in the past 2 years and continue to be seen. Your personal information is like cash, don’t just give it away to anyone.           Fake charities. This has always been a problem, but it grows when there is a crisis or tragedy. Criminals play on a person’s desire to help. Keep in mind that a legitimate charity will never pressure you into giving a donation. They will be happy to receive one at any time and will expect you to do your research. A legitimate charity will not ask for payment by gift card or by wire transfer. This is a hallmark of how scammers operate.           Fake job offers online. Many people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic were eager to get back to work again. Some applied to offers they s

Dirty Dozen 2022: Phone Scams

             Phone scams are nothing new and we have all experienced a variation of this at some point. The idea is that there is a prerecorded message, or even an actual person calling, who pretends to be someone they are not. Criminals can use apps to fake their Caller ID number to make it seem like they are calling from the actual institution.           In this case they impersonate someone from the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ). The messages are urgent and threatening in tone. They claim that law enforcement agencies will soon act unless the taxpayer follows their instructions. This is not how the IRS , or its collection agencies operate.           They will never demand immediate payment. Especially with methods like wire transfer, gift cards, or prepaid debit cards. They will never threaten to use law enforcement to arrest you for lack of tax payment. They will never ask for credit or debit cards over the phone. A taxpayer will always be able to question or appeal the

Dirty Dozen 2022: Text Message Scams

             Criminals never take a break, so we must always be vigilant and stay aware of their changing tactics. Each year the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) releases a Dirty Dozen list of the top 12 scams and abusive tax arrangements that taxpayers should be aware of and avoid. This post will look at text message scams.           These are messages sent to phones that claim to be from the IRS . Many of them reference COVID-19 or stimulus payments. They will also contain links to fake websites in the goal of stealing your personal information or loading a virus.           Always remember that the IRS will never send a surprise text to discuss tax matters, and they never send messages on social media. As a rule, it is best to not open attachments or links in suspicious or unexpected text messages. Make sure to independently verify that the source is legitimate.

Do You Need a Tax Professional?

              If you have not filed your 2021 tax return yet, you do not need to wait until October and the extension filing deadline. However, if you are having some difficulties, it might be the time to hire a tax professional. There are different types of preparers, and your needs will determine who you hire.           There are some basic points to keep in mind. Ask about fees . Make sure you have a clear understanding about the fees you will be charged. Avoid preparers who promise to get greater refunds than competitors, or who base their fee on how much of a tax refund you get. This is an incentive for fraud. E-file . Make sure that your tax professional will use e-file to file your tax return with the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ). It is much more efficient than using the mail.           Understand the preparer’s credentials . Enrolled Agents, Certified Public Accountants, lawyers, and tax preparers involved in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program all have different skil

Open Your Mail!

           Even with a large backlog, the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) still sends out letters and notices to Taxpayers at all times of the year. They could be for several reasons including, the tax return being changed by the IRS , the taxpayer being due a larger or smaller refund, a question about the tax return, or even the need to verify an identity.           There can be an increase in mail sent out in the weeks after Tax Season has finished. If you receive mail from the IRS , please remember some simple things. Do not ignore it . Reading the letter will explain the reason for the contact and what, if anything, should be done. Do not panic. The IRS normally contacts people by mail. The letter or notice will explain what is needed. Read carefully and completely. Everything you need to know is usually in the letter. If a response is needed, the date required will be there. You can always ask your Qualified Tax Professional for more assistance.

Common Issues After Tax Day

                 The tax filing deadline has passed. However, there are some common issues that come up that have relatively simple solutions. If a taxpayer expects a refund, they are usually processed in 21 days. Keep in mind that the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) will take longer to release a refund if the tax return is claiming a credit, has errors, or is affected by identity theft.           If you are not receiving a refund and are surprised by that development, then checking your withholding should be done. This will make sure that the correct amount of tax is being withheld from your paycheck.           Sometimes after filing their return, a taxpayer will realize that they made an error or forgot to attach a form. A common reaction is to amend their return. This should only be done to fix errors like filing status, income, deductions, and credits. If there are math mistakes, the IRS will fix them and send a letter to the taxpayer informing them of the change. They will a

For Those Filing at the Last Minute

               Monday April 18 is approaching with certainty. The time left to file is reduced. If you are waiting until the very last minute, here are some things you should keep in mind.           File online. Those who file online tend to have fewer errors. Common errors will be picked up and needed information will be asked for. Additionally, any paper mail will take months to be processed. That will lead to penalties and interest. Filing online is the most practical option.           Consider an extension. This allows extra time to file a tax return, not to pay any taxes due. Any estimated tax liability must be paid by April 18 to be considered on time.           Extra information. When dealing with something like the Advance Child Tax Credit payment or trying to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit related to not getting the last Economic Impact Payment, extra information will be required. The total amounts of what was received must be provided. Letters that were sent may ne