A consumer alert was released by the IRS on Friday warning taxpayers of new scams this tax season. These scams urge people to use wage information on a tax return to claim false credits in hopes of getting a big refund.
One scheme is going around social media, encouraging people to include false income information when manually filling out tax forms. The scam artists suggest people falsify large income and withholding figures as well as the employer it comes from, all with the promise of a large return.
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“We are seeing signs this scam is increasing, and we worry that innocent taxpayers could be at risk of being tempted into falling into a trap that puts them at risk of financial and criminal penalties,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Doug O’Donnell in a statement. “The IRS and Security Summit partners remind people there is no secret way to get free money or a big refund. People should not make up income and try to submit a fraudulent tax return in hopes of getting a huge refund.”
Two other variations of the scheme are also circulating involving misusing the W-2.
The IRS is reminding people who try this that they face a range of penalties, including a fine of $5,000. False filings also put you at risk of criminal prosecution.
For anyone who has taken part in these scams, the IRS recommends options like amending previous tax returns or speaking with a trusted tax professional.