Posted by : Daniel Stoica in (Articles, Tax Return, Tax Scams, Tax Tips) On: June 3rd, 2011
Tagged Under : charity, corporate ownership, credits, deductions, foreign trusts, fraud, fuel tax credit, identity theft, IRA, IRS, offshore accounts, phishing, private annuity, refund, retirement plans, social security, tax preparers, Tax Return, tax scams, taxable, trusts, withholding, zero wages, “dirty dozen”
If you are one of those taxpayers who will do just about anything to get out of paying your taxes, and you think you found a way to get out of it, you might want to reconsider it because the IRS will find out.
The IRS recently released its annual list of the worst tax scams with a warning to consumers to not even try pulling one over on the government. There are probably many taxpayers who haven’t filed yet because they owe money. They may have been thinking about ways to get around paying them, which will cause a lot of problems down the line, including fines, liens, and even jail.
The annual “dirty dozen”, as the IRS refers to scams people have used to evade paying taxes, are listed below. They range from putting money in offshore accounts to claiming non-existence dependents. Some of the most devious scams have been perpetrated by dishonest tax preparers who used tactics to get more of a refund for their clients and take some off the top for themselves.
Besides the obvious scams, there are some methods that have most likely crossed the minds of many taxpayers. The IRS has reported that some taxpayers have lied about how much they earn, embellished or made up charitable donations and claimed they withheld more in Social Security in order to reduce their taxable income.
The IRS has also reported that some taxpayers try to get out of paying their taxes by claiming that paying taxes is not mandated in the constitution. (There are several videos on YouTube that claim this, as well). Others have even gone as far as to claim that it’s “against their religion”. The Supreme Court has, again and again, determined this to be a unjustified argument.
If the IRS believes you have tried any of these scams, you will be audited and fined $5,000 or more, or even incarcerated for worse offenses. And, if you know someone who has tried to pull off one of these scams, you should notify the IRS. You may be rewarded for your honesty.
Here is the full list of the worst scams:
• Hiding income offshore – This is where taxpayers deposit money in banks in such places as the Cayman Islands or Switzerland
• Identity theft and phishing – This scam has been running rampant for quite some time. People steal IDs and Social Security numbers to take another person’s identity
• Return preparer fraud – Tax preparers making false claims on their clients’ tax returns for their own gain
• Filing false or misleading forms – exaggerating or claiming false information on your tax return to pay less on their taxes
• Frivolous arguments – claiming that paying taxes is unconstitutional or against your religion
• Nontaxable Social Security benefits with exaggerated withholding credits – trying to take more credits and deductions on income that is actually taxable
• Abuse of charitable organizations and deductions – claiming to have given to charity or exaggerating how much you actually did give to a charity
• Abusive retirement plans – transactions that taxpayers use to avoid the limits on contributions to IRAs, as well as transactions that are not properly reported as early distributions
• Disguised corporate ownership – Corporations are formed and operated in certain states for the purpose of disguising the ownership of the business or financial activity by means such as improperly using a third party to request an employer identification number,
• Zero wages – reporting that you made no money at all during the tax year
• Misuse of trusts – the inappropriate use of private annuity trusts and foreign trusts to shift income and deduct personal expenses
• Fuel tax credit scams – individuals who claim the tax credit for nontaxable uses of fuel when their occupations or income levels make the claim unreasonable
To avoid becoming one of the “dirty dozen”, consult with a trusted tax professional to prepare your taxes.