NEW ORLEANS, LA. (NBC33) —
The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to guard against being misled by unscrupulous individuals trying to persuade them to file false claims for tax credits or rebates.
The IRS has noted an increase in tax-return-related scams across the country, including Louisiana, frequently involving unsuspecting taxpayers who normally do not have a filing requirement in the first place. These taxpayers are led to believe they should file a return with the IRS for tax credits, refunds or rebates for which they are not really entitled.
“Most paid tax return preparers provide honest and professional service, but there are some who engage in fraud and other illegal activities,” said IRS Spokesman, Dee Harris Stepter. “Unscrupulous promoters convince taxpayers to file fraudulent tax returns. When the individuals are notified by the IRS that the claim is false, often the scam artists are long gone”
Flyers or advertisements for free money from the IRS, suggesting that the taxpayer can file with little or no documentation, have been appearing in communities across the country. Promoters are targeting the elderly, the disabled and low-income people, many who are not required to file a tax return. These schemes also often spread by word of mouth among unsuspecting and well-intentioned people telling their friends and relatives. They build false hopes and charge people good money for bad advice.
Always verify alleged government rebates and benefits that are unfamiliar by contacting the government directly. Safeguard your personal information, such as your Social Security Number, tax records and income documents.
Taxpayers should be wary of any of the following: offers of free money with no documentation required, fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on excess or withheld Social Security benefits, promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns” or “Stimulus Payments,” home-made flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility, unfamiliar for-profit tax services teaming up with local churches, claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or Recovery Rebate Credit, and claims for credits and deductions that you are not entitled to.
Make sure you qualify for all credits and deductions claimed on your tax return.
Anyone with questions about a tax credit or program should visit the IRS website here . You can also call the IRS toll-free number at (800)829-1040 or visit a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.