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IRS warns tax scams do not take the summer off

With April 15 of next year more than half a year away, few people in Michigan are spending much time this summer thinking about taxes. But there are some, besides tax accountants and tax attorneys, who are still thinking about taxes this time of year. Unfortunately for most taxpayers, these people are tax scammers, who work all year round to impersonate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS has spent years warning taxpayers of this threat, and they regularly provide updates in the hope of alerting everyone to the tactics used by these criminals. In their latest warning, they point out that these scams have become sophisticated, and have move from targeting the elderly or recent immigrants, to all taxpayers.

Because of the vast size and complexity of the tax code, many people can be easily overwhelmed by the threat of punishment connected to tax filings. If you are not very confident in both your knowledge of your own tax situation and the tax code in general, it can be all too easy to be persuaded by someone who sounds authoritative and insists you owe additional tax payments.

They use high-pressure tactics on the phone to pressure victims for immediate payment and they may bolster their credibility by calling on numbers that appear to spoof real IRS phone numbers. They may present fake identification information, such as badge numbers or titles, and if you receive an email, may include bogus documents that appear to be from the IRS.

Taxes can be difficult and complex. You may have made errors and may be contacted by the IRS for additional payments, but they will never make initial contact by phone. You won't receive notice of a significant tax problem, like a tax delinquency, via email.

They will send a letter with information concerning you issue. If you suspect a phone call is a scam, hang up and contact the IRS via an official phone number. If the IRS contacts you for additional payment, you can also speak with a tax attorney for help in responding to their inquiry.

Source: irs.gov, "Don't Fall for New Tax Scam Tricks by IRS Posers," August 12, 2015

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