Dirty Dozen may protect California residents from tax crimes

Well, tis the season - tax season that is. Recently, the Internal Revenue Service released its annual list of tax scams, affectionately dubbed the "Dirty Dozen." The purpose of the annual list is to caution taxpayers and improve awareness about various tax crimes. The IRS hopes the list will serve to minimize effects of tax crime on taxpayers in California, and all over the United States, as they prepare to file returns.

According to the IRS Acting Commissioner, the IRS has amped up efforts to protect taxpayers from a variety of scams. Among those scams is both identity theft and refund fraud. The publication of the list is proof positive that tax crimes come in all shapes and sizes. Taxpayers are advised to arm themselves with knowledge so they avoid becoming victims of a scam artist, or even victims of a poor choice. These types of tax crimes can result in penalties and possible criminal prosecution.

This year, identity theft, and the commission of tax fraud through ID theft, is number one on the Dirty Dozen list. The IRS has made combating tax crimes through identity theft a top priority, and it is taking additional steps to assist victims of identity theft. Also on the list are phishing scams, return preparer fraud, hidden offshore income, and Social Security tax fraud. But the list doesn't end there. Other scams include the impersonation of a charitable organization, false 1099 claims and even falsely claiming zero wages.

The details of each of these tax crimes may be of particular interest to California residents. The IRS readily publishes the full list and explanations of each specific crime. There are a number of resources, including the Internet, where this information can be located. There are also provisions under the umbrella of the law designed to protect taxpayers facing allegations of tax crime. In cases like these, a strong working knowledge of tax law may prove the best method for combating charges.

Source: Santee, CA Patch, "Tax Tips: IRS Warns Santee About 'Dirty Dozen' Scams," April 2, 2013

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