Tax scams remain a problem

Although Florida residents face no state income tax requirements, they still may have federal obligations to file and pay. Not everyone knows the IRS’s rules and procedures for enforcing tax compliance or contacting taxpayers, so the average person might fall victim to common scams. Knowing how some of the more typical scams work could help someone avoid running into trouble.

Tax scammers target many victims

A never-ending scam involves posing as a representative from the IRS. An innocent person may receive a phone call from someone posing as an IRS agent. The caller may then threaten the person with enforcement action if they do not provide payment information, such as a credit card number. The scammer might procure personal identification information, including name, address and Social Security number. The info might have value in an identity theft scam.

There are other ways a scammer could target a taxpayer. Traditional email phishing schemes cast a wide net, and they sometimes reap success for scammers. More sophisticated operations may involve infecting computers with malware. Hackers might target retail stores and other entities that store important personal information about people. Once compromised, the info could find its way into several scams.

Scams might occur in places that the taxpayer doesn’t suspect. Perhaps an unethical tax preparer embezzles from clients or files fraudulent returns to acquire undeserved benefits. Clients might find themselves in a tough position upon discovering the scheme.

Tax fraud as a white-collar crime

Although someone may face accusations of committing tax fraud, the so-called scammer might be innocent. A tax preparer could make grossly negligent mistakes on returns, but that is not the same as committing deliberate acts of fraud for personal gain.

Those looking at an expected guilty verdict during a court trial might consider entering into a plea agreement with the prosecutor. As always, though, the decision is up tp the defendant.