Tax season kicked off Jan. 23, and IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) reminds U.S. taxpayers to take extra steps to protect their identities and wallets when filing their taxes.
“Education and outreach are key to preventing tax fraud,” said IRS-CI Chief Jim Lee. “If U.S. taxpayers know what to lookout for, they can avoid falling victim to the latest tax fraud scheme.”
Forgo fraud this filing season:
- Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.
- Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.
- Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.
- Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. All taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.
- Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.
- Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s.
- The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up, it’s a scam!
- Don’t respond to or click links in text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information.
- Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.
- Report fraud to law enforcement. Submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral, if you suspect an individual or a business is committing fraud.
IRS-CI is the only federal law enforcement agency with the authority to investigate violations of the Internal Revenue Code. In fiscal year 2022, IRS-CI identified $5.7 billion in tax fraud, initiated 1,388 criminal tax investigations and obtained 699 criminal sentences for tax crimes.
IRS-CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. IRS-CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, boasting a more than 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.