The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) warned taxpayers, last week, to beware of “look alike” Revenooers asking for dough!
Seems some scammers, out there, are calling folks by phone, claiming to represent the IRS — “This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” quoth TIGTA J. Russell George, who noted that his office has received reports of over 20,000 contacts and has become aware of thousands of victims who have collectively actually paid over $1 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers, fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials.
“The increasing number of people receiving these unsolicited calls from individuals who fraudulently claim to represent the IRS is alarming,” noted George. “At all times, and particularly during the tax filing season, we want to make sure that innocent taxpayers are alert to this scam so they are not harmed by these criminals.”
He went on to note that the scam has hit folks in nearly every state in the union — callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, threatening those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license!
The reality is that IRS typically first contacts taxpayers by mail — not by phone — about unpaid taxes. And they won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, not to mention a credit card.
Indicia of calls from these bad guys include:
• Use of common names and fake IRS badge numbers,
• knowledge of the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number; and/or
• fake caller ID info to make it appear as if IRS is calling you.
If you receive one of these calls, dump the caller and notify the real Revenooers at 800-829-1040 or 800-366-4484 (direct pipeline to TIGTA).
And speaking of IRS, recent info unearthed by Reuters suggests the government audited fewer high-income Americans in 2013 than in 2012 or 2011 — owing to budget cuts which have limited the dough they have to spend on auditing!
For fiscal year ended September 30, 2013, IRS apparently audited 24.2 percent of individual returns with adjusted gross income of $10 million or more, down from 27 percent in 2012 and 30 percent in 2011!
And this, despite the IRS program implemented a few years ago, known as a “Global High Wealth Industry Group” to audit top income folk more efficiently.
Let us shed a tear…
CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISER — This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation. Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.