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Keeping Tax Problems Away by Avoiding Tax Scams

We often counsel consumers mired in IRS tax problems from our Atlanta tax attorney and CPA for IRS representation firm to help resolve their pressing issues. These tax problems are often brought on by their own inexperience with the IRS and how complicated and strong their powers can be. Sadly, there are also instances where a client has fallen victim to a tax scam that has not only robbed them of hard earned money but also facing serious IRS penalties, fines and possible tax fraud charges. The good news is that tax scams can be prevented if you know what to look out for.

As a tax attorney in Atlanta, Georgia for nearly 30 years, I know a thing or two about tax law and have seen not only the damage tax scams have made on the tax industry but also what they can do to ordinary citizens who get duped. My emphasis is to educate taxpayers to avoid tax scams at all costs, because the simple fact is that it is difficult to "beat" the IRS. If you are one of many Americans with tax problems, trying to game the system will not work, contacting a tax attorney or CPA to review your case will. The very nature of tax scams is to lure people in. Recognize the tax scam "signs" at the outset to prevent a "too good to be true" scenario from happening to you.

Here are some important points to keep in mind:
Every year the IRS lists the worst top scams and rightly names it, the "Dirty Dozen". Some are old and some are new and range from identity theft to fuel tax credit scams. There are three categories the IRS has deemed important in distinguishing the following: Tax scams, Identity Theft, Phony Arguments. These three categories are inclusive of what most consumers encounter if they come across a tax scam.

Tax Scams
The most common abusive tax scams include ones that promise higher returns. Tax credits, rebates or tax refund (considered tax return related scams), home-based business, trust, and off-shore schemes, and anti-tax law are just some prized programs the scammers participate in. Recent scams we have seen atGartzman Law Firm involve unscrupulous tax preparers charging a fee for a promise (typically aimed at low income taxpayers) of free money for tax credits and guarantee of a higher refund. Victims of this type of tax scam have reported not collecting any of what is promised and sadly paying hard earned money for very bad advice.

Identity Theft
This latest scam and tax fraud has been given a boost by the omnipresence of the internet. Methods for identity theft cases include the fraudulent use of the IRS logo. With this phony logo scammers contact taxpayers via the internet, mail service or via telephone or fax and convince them into releasing personal and financial information. These official looking documents confuse unwitting consumers and expose them to identity and in many cases asset theft. The common term for this type of theft is called phishing. While many are aware of its existence, thousands still fall prey to it every year. To prevent this type of scam from happening to you, it is important to understand these key points about IRS identity theft:

  • The IRS does not send correspondence to a taxpayer through e-mail. If you have received a suspicious yet official -looking e-mail, BEWARE! You are advised NOT TO OPEN any attachments or links and to contact the IRS immediately to report it.
  • By clicking on that e-mail, you could unleash malware that could download a virus to your computer or release personal or financial information the scammers can use.
  • If you question ANY correspondence, contact the IRS immediately (irs.gov) to confirm the authenticity of the documents.

Phony Arguments
There are people, for example, who argue that the very filing of a tax return and payment of taxes is voluntary and challenge the US Government on these grounds as a matter of principle. As an Atlanta tax attorney and CPA, I have witnessed similar cases and have yet to see them conclude in a taxpayer victory. However, these same people are able to convince an audience into believing their misguided charges. Don't be one of them, as you will most assuredly wind up on the wrong side of the IRS with your chances of winning at zero.

If you have been a victim of a tax scam or think you might be, it is important to consult a tax professional to help you understand what your options are. The charges for tax fraud are serious even if you were falsely scammed. As a tax attorney and CPA based in Atlanta who has handled cases such as these, I strongly encourage you to hire tax experts who understand IRS policies in these matters and who will stand on your side and get back on the right track.

About Jeffrey S. Gartzman, Atlanta Tax Attorney and Certified Public Accountant
Jeffrey S. Gartzman is an accomplished Atlanta tax attorney and CPA who has been practicing tax law in Atlanta for nearly 30 years. He will help you resolve IRS and state tax problems, find tax relief and settle tax debt. Jeffrey S. Gartzman has a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Tax from Emory University School of Law. Jeffrey S. Gartzman is a former IRS Taxpayer Education Program instructor. He is also an accredited Personal Financial Specialist with the American Institute of CPAs. Mr. Gartzman is a member of the Atlanta Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and other professional associations.

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