Kelly Bullis: IRS 2023 Dirty Dozen tax scams

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Poor IRS. So hated and despised by most. They are just trying to do their job. Here is one thing they did which you might appreciate. They compiled a list of the 12 most used and painful tax scams they see out there. Hopefully, you will find this helpful and maybe soften your opinion of the IRS… a little?

1. False Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims. The rules for qualifying are quite simple, but unscrupulous promoters are claiming “everybody” can get these. False claims to the IRS may result in penalties.

2. Phishing and smishing schemes. Folks claiming to be from the IRS attempting to collect a tax debt. Simple rule… IRS never calls or sends emails. They only send official correspondence via US Mail.

3. Online Account Setup. This one is new. A scammer claims they represent an official third party hired by the IRS to help you setup an online account with the IRS. The IRS doesn’t authorize third parties to do any such service.

4. False Fuel Tax Credit Claims. This tax credit is only for agriculture and transportation businesses. Anybody claiming to get it for other businesses is a scam.

5. Fake Charities. After a disaster, scammers will prey on your generosity to “help those poor victims.” Make sure you only give to qualified charitable organizations. Verify.

6. Unscrupulous Tax Pros. Bad ones charge fees as a percentage of the refund they get you, refuse to sign tax returns or provide their PTIN number, ask you to sign a blank tax return, and fraudulently claim credits and deductions.

7. Social Media Schemes. Whatever you learn from a social media source is highly suspect. Seek out professionals for advice and help.

8. Spearphishing. Cleaver looking emails that have a file attached or a hyperlink. If you open the attached file or click on the hyperlink, your computer gets infected with a tiny program that steals private information, like bank accounts, passwords, etc.

9. Offer In Compromise Mills. This one is bad. All those advertisements on the radio telling you to call them if you owe the IRS and they will get you out of it. You gotta be pretty broke to actually qualify for this IRS process. Most folks are not and end up paying fees and get no results.

10. High-Income Filer Schemes. There are official known tax activities that can be abused and done wrong on purpose to result in higher than correct tax savings. Verify the integrity of any professional rendering complex tax advice.

11. Abusive Tax Avoidance Schemes. Watch out for seemingly qualified “professionals” pushing strange schemes aimed at big tax savings. My momma always said, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

12. Overview. IRS wrapped up its Dirty Dozen list of tax scams for 2023 with a reminder for taxpayers, businesses and tax pros to watch out for these schemes throughout the year, not just during tax season.

Have you heard? Prov 12:20 says, “Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but joy comes to the promoters of peace.”

Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 775-882-4459. On the web at Also on Facebook.


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