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Internal Revenue Service tax scam alert

Many taxpayers in Georgia and across the country have been receiving threatening emails and telephone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service. During these interactions, imposters try to threaten their victims with lawsuits, deportation and arrest in order to obtain personal information and cash from them.

According to a recent report, these fraudsters have duped more than 3,000 individuals out of an estimated $14 million since 2013 in similar telephone frauds. The IRS is aware that these types of scams are becoming increasingly prevalent and are warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for anyone claiming to represent the agency via telephone or email.

First, people should be suspicious of anyone calling or emailing them about their taxes because the IRS does not use these methods in its initial contacts with taxpayers. Secondly, the agency does not demand payment in the form of a money transfer or prepaid card. Besides making phone calls, many criminals attempt to steal a taxpayer's identity so they can collect their tax refund. Consumers should be aware of tax preparers who encourage taxpayers to cheat on their tax returns by falsifying information in order to bloat tax credits.

While these scams have received national attention, there are still many people who have large tax debts. Those individuals might seek counsel of a local attorney who is experienced in tax laws. By reviewing a person's particular situation, the attorney could present several options in order to find a solution for reducing or eliminating a person's tax debt. One option is an offer in compromise in which the Internal Revenue Service accepts the taxpayer's partial payment to settle his or her full tax liability. The attorney may be able to assist a person with other options such as a penalty abatement, a payment plan, innocent spouse relief or The IRS Fresh Start Program.

Source: NBC News, "Tax Man Says Beware 'Dirty Dozen' Tax Scams," Ben Popken, Feb. 20, 2015

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