IRS Criminal Investigation: 10 Tips to Avoid Fraud This Tax Season

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Every year, taxpayers’ personal information is compromised by phishing scams or unscrupulous tax preparers.

As tax season kicks off on January 24, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division wants taxpayers to be aware of tax evasion.

“As we approach the start of another tax season, it is important to remind taxpayers to protect themselves from the ever-evolving tax schemes that my office is investigating in the New England area,” said Joleen Simpson. , special agent in charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, Boston Field Office.

“We all have an obligation to honor our voluntary tax compliance system, file accurate tax returns, and pay our fair share,” U.S. Attorney Leonard Boyle said. “Don’t be tempted by a tax preparer who promises you an inflated refund by preparing a fraudulent tax return on your behalf. The U.S. Attorney’s Office stands ready to prosecute these preparers, and our partners at the IRS will take action to recover unpaid taxes from their clients.

Here are some tips for avoiding fraud this tax season:

1. Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a trainer available all year round.

2. Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers must have one.

3. Do not use ghost preparer. They will not sign a tax return that they prepare for you.

4. Don’t fall victim to big refund promises from tax preparers. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.

5. Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.

6. Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s account.

7. The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up.

8. Do not respond to text messages, emails, or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that can compromise your personal information.

9. Do not click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages regarding your tax return. These messages are fraudulent.

10. 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.

On October 28, 2019, Gelin Sterling, a Haitian national, has been condemned by U.S. District Judge Kari Dooley in Bridgeport to 15 months in prison, followed by a year of supervised release for filing false tax returns.

Sterling owned and operated Sterling Tax Plus, LLC, a tax preparation business. For the 2014 through 2017 tax years, Sterling prepared tax returns for numerous clients that included bogus mileage charges, bogus charitable donations, and other bogus items. Sterling was also ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution to the IRS and faces deportation proceedings at the end of his sentence.

On August 21, 2020, Veronica Huitzil, of Bridgeport, has been condemned by U.S. District Judge Kari Dooley in Bridgeport to six months in prison, followed by a year of supervised release, for preparing false tax returns for numerous clients.

Huitzil, who operated a tax preparation firm in Bridgeport, assisted in the preparation and filing of more than 3,700 federal tax returns for the 2014 to 2018 tax years. dependents who were not dependents, deducted thousands of dollars in business losses for fictitious businesses, and included inflated or fabricated medical expenses, charitable contributions, and employee business expenses. The loss suffered by the IRS as a result of Huitzil’s fraudulent conduct amounted to $898,665.

For more tips on choosing a tax professional or how to file a complaint against one, visit IRS.gov.

Taxpayers who suspect tax violations by a person or business can report it to the IRS using Form 3949A, Information Referral. Taxpayers can report phishing emails to [email protected] or IRS impersonation scams at TIGTA.gov.

This year’s tax season begins on Monday, January 24 and continues until Monday, April 18 for most taxpayers.

US taxpayers are subject to worldwide income tax from all sources and must report all taxable income and pay taxes in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code. Taxpayers who commit fraud may be subject to penalties, including payment of taxes owed plus interest, fines and imprisonment.

The Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS is the criminal investigative branch of the IRS, responsible for investigating financial crimes including tax evasion, drug trafficking, money laundering, public corruption , healthcare fraud, identity theft, etc.

Special Agents in the IRS Criminal Investigations Division are the only federal law enforcement officers with jurisdiction to investigate tax code violations, with a federal conviction rate of nearly 90%. The agency has 20 field offices located across the United States and 11 overseas attaché positions.

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