IRS scam may ask for more money than owed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2007

VIDALIA — A new tax-return filing scheme that may result in taxpayers having to pay back money plus interest and penalties has surfaced in recent weeks, IRS officials said.

Citizens need to be aware that some unscrupulous tax-preparers may advise them to file for more than they are entitled to when they file for their Telephone Excise Tax refunds, IRS Media Contact for Louisiana and Mississippi Dee Harris said.

“What we’ve seen lately is that some people are being told to claim a lot more than they are owed,” Harris said. “Instead of the 3 percent tax they’re charged for long-distance service, we’re seeing claims for the entire phone bill.”

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The IRS has been monitoring telephone excise tax refund requests for 2006 returns since taxpayers began filing for them in 2007, and this particular scheme can result in a refund that is hundreds of dollars more than the taxpayer is entitled to, Harris said.

Innocent taxpayers who have passed the bad advice on to their friends may have further exacerbated the problem, Harris said.

Citizens are held legally culpable for their tax returns, regardless of who completes it.

If you think you have been the victim of a tax scheme:

4File an amended tax return to correct any errors you may have submitted.

4Be prepared to pay back any refund — plus penalties and interest — you received as a result of filing the false return.

4Immediately return to the IRS any refund checks you have not cashed.

4Contact the IRS if you have any doubts about the legality of a tax deduction.

4In the future, avoid any tax preparer who claims to know about secret tax breaks or loopholes in tax law.