IRS Criminal Investigation releases 10 tips to avoid being defrauded this tax season

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(Fremont County, Wyoming) – Every year, taxpayers’ personal information is compromised by phishing scams or unscrupulous tax preparers. As tax season kicks off on January 24, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) wants taxpayers to be aware of tax evasion.

“IRS-CI is the investigative and enforcement arm of the IRS,” said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-CI, Denver Field Office. “This tax season, we want to remind American taxpayers of the importance of choosing a reputable tax preparer and protecting their personal information from those who seek to exploit it.”


Here are some tips to remember 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. Avoid using “ghost preparers” who will prepare a tax return but refuse to sign off as a paid preparer.
  4. Don’t fall victim to big refund promises from tax preparers. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.
  5. Do not 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.
  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.

This year tax season begins 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 guilty of fraud may be subject to penalties, including payment of taxes owed plus interest, fines and imprisonment.

For more advice 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, Return of Information. Taxpayers can report phishing emails to [email protected] or IRS impersonation scams at TIGTA.gov.

Case example: A Rock Springs Wyoming accountant was sentenced to federal prison in June 2021 for filing fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of his clients. Paul Edman was found to have adjusted personal and business expenses related to family restaurants to reduce their tax bill which was nearly $645,000.

The IRS-CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for investigating financial crimes, including tax evasion, drug trafficking, money laundering, public corruption, fraud in health care, identity theft, etc. IRS-CI Special Agents are the only federal law enforcement officers with jurisdiction to investigate violations of the Internal Revenue Code, with a federal conviction rate of nearly 90%. The Denver field office oversees all tax and financial investigations in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

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