The Internal Revenue Service has issued a scam alert to help taxpayers stay out of trouble before mid-April's filing deadline. The IRS's "dirty dozen" scams include identity theft, false charities, "free money" tax claims circulating among churches, and phishing, in which perpetrators try to get important personal information from victims to use in their crimes.
In an example of "free money" claims at some churches, the IRS said scammers falsely promise tax refunds or a stimulus payment under the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The credit covers education costs, but promoters falsely tell victims they can claim it even if they didn't attend school or did so decades ago, the IRS warning says.
Some common frauds involve bogus tax preparers.
The IRS also offered several tips to consider when choosing a preparer to help you do your taxes. For example, once the return is done, review it carefully and make sure the preparer signs and includes his Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN, on the return.
Never sign a blank tax return and allow someone else to fill it out, the IRS said.
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