The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned senior citizens and other taxpayers to beware of an emerging scheme tempting them to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds.
The scheme carries a common theme of promising refunds to people who have little or no income and normally don't have a tax-filing requirement. Promoters claim they can obtain for their victims a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, even if the victim was not enrolled in or paying for college.
Typically, con artists falsely claim that refunds are available even if the victim went to school decades ago. In many cases, scammers are targeting seniors, people with very low incomes and members of church congregations with bogus promises of free money. The IRS has also seen a variation of this scheme that incorrectly claims the college credit is available to compensate people for paying taxes on groceries.
The IRS has already detected and stopped thousands of these fraudulent claims. Nevertheless, the scheme can still be quite costly for victims. Promoters may charge exorbitant upfront fees to file these claims and are often long gone when victims discover theyâ€™ve been scammed. The IRS is reminding people to be careful because all taxpayers, including those who use paid tax preparers, are legally responsible for the accuracy of their returns and must repay any refunds received in error.
To avoid falling victim to this scheme, the IRS says taxpayers should beware of any of the following:
Unfamiliar return preparation firms soliciting business from cities outside of the normal business or commuting area.
Marketing and Website provided by SPC
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