The following is a news release from the IRS:
New Orleans, LA — The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged 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 deceive people into paying for advice on how to file false claims. Some promoters may charge unreasonable amounts for preparing legitimate returns that could have been prepared for free by the IRS. In other situations, identity theft is involved."
Flyers and advertisements for free money from the IRS, suggesting that the taxpayer can file with little or no documentation, have been appearing in community churches around the country. Promoters are targeting church congregations, exploiting their good intentions and credibility. These schemes also often spread by word of mouth among unsuspecting and well-intentioned people telling their friends and relatives.
Promoters of these scams often prey upon low income individuals and the elderly. 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 before you give someone your personal information and pay them to file a claim on your behalf.
Taxpayers should be wary of any of the following:
- Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on excess or withheld Social Security benefits.
- Claims that Treasury Form 1080 can be used to transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS enabling a payout from the IRS.
- Unfamiliar for-profit tax services teaming up with local churches.
- Offers of free money with no documentation required.
- Promises of refunds for "Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns."
- Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or Recovery Rebate Credit.
- Home-made flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility.