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IRS Announces Top Tax Schemes of 2015

As tax season marches towards April 15, the stress of digging through records, preparing and finally filing returns begins to increase with each passing day. Another layer of anxiety is added in for those who find themselves caught in one of the many tax scams that have been targeting taxpayers across the country. To help ease your mind about any tax scares you may encounter over the next few weeks, we have provided a short list of the Internal Revenue Service's top tax scams for 2015. If any of these sound familiar, there is a chance that someone may be trying to scam you.

1. Have you received a phone call from someone saying that they are calling from the IRS, that you have a balance due, and that you must pay it immediately or you will be arrested? Over the past few months the IRS has reported a sharp increase in phone scams that unfold similar to the above line of questioning. Sometimes the caller will threaten to deport the taxpayer, or to revoke the taxpayer's driver's license. The "real" IRS will provide plenty of notice before any action is taken against a taxpayer. Furthermore, the IRS will never demand payment over the phone by threat of arrest. Do not provide these callers with any personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers.

2. Carefully inspect e-mails that you receive that claim to be from the IRS. Do not click on links or enter personal information on websites that are linked in such e-mails. Phishing schemes such as these allow scammers to steal personal information and, in some situations, may lead to identity theft. The IRS has made it a priority to seek out fraudulent returns filed with incorrect Social Security Numbers. The first step to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, however, is to remain vigilant about where and to whom you provide personal information.

3. Do some research on your tax preparer before handing over personal information and records. And, once your tax returns are complete, be sure to review them for accuracy and truthfulness. Be wary of preparers who make promises about the refunds that you will receive before ever looking at the documents required to prepare a return.

4. Despite budget cuts and a reduction in personnel, the IRS has devoted much of their remaining resources towards their Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). Taxpayers should think twice before attempting to hide money in offshore bank accounts. Taxpayers who are not intentionally hiding money, but are not sure how to properly report foreign income and bank accounts, should also consider seeking professional tax advice to prevent any repercussion for failure to report such income.

Before you completely disregard something that looks a bit amiss, do a little research to confirm that whatever you have received is, in fact, a scam. In some cases, you may find that unusual activity surrounding your finances is a sign of something more important-- such as identity theft-- that requires quick action.

If you have any questions about your taxes, or a notice that you have received, Contact Us or give Frost & Associates a call today.

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