IRS warns of tax scams as filing deadline rapidly approaches

Apr 14, 2023, 7:40 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Procrastinators: It is crunch time! We are less than a week from the IRS filing deadline, which makes this week especially treacherous.

Scammers love to prey on people who are scrambling to get something done urgently.

“Tax season generally is scam season,” IRS spokesperson Raphael Tulino said. Most of the scams targeting average taxpayers this season are familiar: bad guys trying to get you to give up personal information or access to your bank account. Tulino said, “Phishing and smishing. So that’s emails and texts and things like that.”

This year the IRS is seeing a spike in businesses being targeted with promises of getting COVID-19 relief funds.

“At the top of the list is the aggressive promotion, if you will, from promoters who are aggressively promoting the Employee Retention Tax Credit,” he added.

That was a legitimate credit. Lots of businesses that were on the brink of shutting down during the first two years of the pandemic qualified for money to keep their companies afloat, and to pay their workers. Now, it is no longer legitimate.

“It expired at the end of 2021,” Tulino said.

If somebody says you qualify for the Employee Retention Credit when filing your 2022 return, they are not telling you the truth.

The IRS also warned taxpayers to be wary of getting contacted by someone who says they can help you create an IRS Online Account. These people are swindlers, the tax agency says, trying to steal your personal information. No help is needed to set up your own online account, and the IRS people should do this on their own.

Business owner or otherwise, Tulino said do not forget, the deadline can be flexible and there’s no shame in asking for an extension.

“April 18. If you can meet that deadline, by all means, do it. But if not, take the extra time,” he said.

The IRS says if you get a call or an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS, threatening you with jail time or other consequences unless you immediately pay up on your back taxes – don’t buy it. That is a scammer.

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IRS warns of tax scams as filing deadline rapidly approaches