How I spent my tax season
Tax day to-do list

Death, taxes and tax scams

A third item needs to be added Benjamin Franklin's famous truism about life's inevitabilities.

In this world nothing can be said to be certain
except death, taxes and tax scams.

Scam alert text (2) Tax scams have become one of America's growth industries, especially now that most of us spend so much time online.

And the fear and confusion that accompany taxes make the filing season a perfect time for con artists to ply their scummy trade.

Even after the April 15 deadline, cons continue to use taxes a hook for their schemes. So whether you long ago filed your return, plan to do so tomorrow or will get an extension to give yourself more time to fill out your forms, you need to be aware of the scams out there.

The IRS issues an annual list of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. The ones making the dubious cut this year are:

  1. Phishing
  2. Hiding Income Offshore
  3. Filing False or Misleading Forms
  4. Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions
  5. Return Preparer Fraud
  6. Frivolous Arguments
  7. False Claims for Refund and Requests for Abatement
  8. Abusive Retirement Plans
  9. Disguised Corporate Ownership
10. Zero Wages
11. Misuse of Trusts
12. Fuel Tax Credit Scams

The IRS provides details on each of these scams in its announcement of the 2009 scam list.

The agency also maintains a special Web page on how to recognize and avoid tax scams, as well as one on suspicious e-mails and identity theft.

Turn them in: If you encounter any of 2009's Dirty Dozen scams or any other tax schemes, the IRS wants to know.

Report bogus e-mails, phone calls or faxes to phishing@irs.gov. The IRS details what kind of information it would like in your report at this special Web page.

As for suspected tax fraud, you can submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral. Whistleblowers also may be eligible for a reward by filing Form 211, Application for Award for Original Information.

And whenever you hear about a sure-fire tax-saving deal, keep in mind another famous saying:

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

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