BIRMINGHAM, ALA. - As part of National Consumer Protection Week, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded Alabama taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers posing as the IRS and scammers posing as tax preparers with special knowledge about getting IRS tax benefits.
"Tax scams come in many forms, but two of the most common involve fake IRS emails and dishonest people promising ‘free’ government money," said IRS spokesman Dan Boone.
Boone emphasized that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information.
“If the IRS needs to contact you,” he said, “we will usually mail you an official notice.”
Boone also warned of scammers that target low-income people, senior citizens, or even church congregations with promises of easy tax refunds or government stimulus money. They often target people who are not required to file a tax return.
“Promoters claim they can get you a tax refund or stimulus payment,” Boone said. "But they charge good money for bad advice."
Scammers recently have filed bogus claims for people to get the a higher education tax credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, even when the victim was not enrolled in or paying for college. They falsely claimed that refunds were available even for those who went to college decades ago.
“The bottom line,” Boone said, “is that if there’s any doubt about whether the IRS is really trying to contact you or whether you’re eligible to file for an IRS refund, contact the IRS to find out.”
Taxpayers can visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov, for information about avoiding tax scams and reporting them.