Tax scams use various methods to extract tax information from taxpayers or convince them to defraud the IRS for large monetary gains. Falling victim to tax scams may not only lead to financial losses, but also makes it more difficult to resolve the tax complications that can arise from it.
Some of the most popular tax scams are:
- Fake IRS emails requesting sensitive tax information
- Emails from financial institutions, such as banks, requesting personal and financial information
- Unsolicited emails with links or open attachments that may contain malware in order to steal personal information from computers
- Fake charities and trusts promoting tax evasion
Scammers are active both on and offline. The IRS actively battles tax fraud, but taxpayers can help by reporting any suspicious financial activities to the IRS.
How to Report Tax Scams
There are different reporting methods to inform the IRS about the various kinds of tax scams.
- Unsolicited emails from the IRS or suspicious emails from supposedly reputable institutions should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Businesses or individuals suspected of non-compliance, including using false exemptions or deductions, kickbacks, or false or altered documents can be reported using IRS Form 3949-A, Information Referral. Taxpayers who do not wish to use the form may send a letter to Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888.
- If your Social Security Number has been stolen or misplaced, use Form 14039 to report it to the IRS. This ensures that no one will be able to use your SSN to file a tax return on your behalf.
- Fraudulent tax preparers can be reported using IRS Form 14157 and Form 14157-A. Both forms must be completed. Fraudulent activity or abusive tax schemes run by tax resolution companies or tax preparers can also be reported using IRS Form 14157.
- Abusive tax promotion or their promoters can be reported using IRS Form 14242.
- If a tax-exempt organization is suspected of wrong-doing, it can be reported using IRS Form 13909.
Taxpayers may ask the IRS for confidentiality if they prefer. If there is a reward for the information shared, taxpayers can use IRS Form 211.
Any tax claims not made by the IRS should be verified for authenticity. For tax queries, taxpayers may visit the IRS website (irs.gov), or call their toll-free number (800) 829-1040 for individual taxpayers and (800) 829-4933 for business and specialty from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. Using trusted communication channels is essential to avoid the traps laid by tax scammers.