Tax 'Dirty Dozen' for 2013 shows what's on IRS crime watch list

It's hardly as anticipated as the Cherry Blossom Festival here in Washington, D.C., but it is no less reliable in its arrival. We're talking about the Internal Revenue Services' annual "Dirty Dozen" list of potential tax scams.

The tax crimes list is offered in the context of being a service to protect taxpayers from unscrupulous schemers. It also offers a view of the kinds of things that the IRS is likely to be watching more carefully than usual, not just during tax preparation time, but all throughout the year. Anyone who becomes subject to criminal investigation by the IRS should be just as careful to work with an experienced attorney to protect their personal interests.

Identity theft is a perennial concern highlighted by the IRS. It tops the list this year. This year, the IRS is letting it be known that it has put new strategies in place to detect and prevent possible tax refund fraud. The agency estimates that it blocked some $14 billion from being paid out in fraudulent claims in 2011. The number bumped up to $20 billion in 2012. Also in 2012, the agency notes that it took action against some 2,400 suspected identity thieves.

Other issues that the IRS says it's watching include:

  • Phishing: unsolicited emails that look legitimate and seek to collect personal information that could be used to further ID theft.
  • Tax preparation fraud: the IRS urges filers to remember that they are ultimately responsible for what's on the return, so if an outside preparer is used, be sure they are qualified and can be trusted.
  • Offshore accounts: We've talked about before about how the government is cracking down to be sure this money is being reported. New foreign account reporting rules are phasing in over the coming years. Ahead of that, programs for resolving past tax obligations are being offered.

Obviously this is not the entire list of issues. It does offer a glimpse, though, of the kinds of tax crimes that federal officials are particularly attuned to and which could be used as justification for investigations or prosecutions.

Source:, "IRS Details The Dirty Dozen Tax Scams For 2013," March 26, 2013

  • The subjects discussed here address some areas of focus for our firm. Readers wishing to know more should visit our Washington, D.C., criminal tax page.

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