Tax Updates Mid April

Dirty Dozen Tax Scams, Part 2

The IRS has completed their Dirty Dozen tax scam series, warning individuals and businesses about popular schemes and scams targeting taxpayers. Information to help recognize a scam, and steps to take for those who have been targeted or have fallen prey to such predators. The final scams to be aware of are:

  • Tax advice on social media can lure otherwise honest taxpayers into compromising tax situations. Two recent schemes currently circulating involve filing fraudulent Form 8944 and Form W-2. 
  • Spearfishing emails, where fraudsters attempt to steal client data or professional credentials from tax preparers. These can look like potential new clients or a request targeting payroll or human resource departments asking for Form W-2 information.
  • Offer in Compromise “mills” claiming they can help settle IRS debts for pennies on the dollar. Taxpayers who don’t meet the technical requirements for an offer often face excessive fees from promoters for information easily obtained themselves. Taxpayers should know they can check their eligibility using the IRS’s Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool.
  • Abusive tax arrangements targeting wealthy taxpayers may involve things like Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts and monetized installment sales. The promoters often misapply the rules, leaving filers vulnerable. “People should seek out trusted, reputable tax advice and not be fooled by aggressive advertising,” says IRS commissioner Danny Werfel.
  • Bogus schemes to reduce or avoid taxes may involve syndicated conservation easements, micro-captive insurance arrangements. They can also involve international methods; hiding cash and digital assets offshore or using Maltese foreign individual retirement accounts or foreign captive insurance. 
  • A summary of the scams may be found here.

April 18 Deadline Reminder

The IRS reminds taxpayers that Tax Day, April 18, is also the deadline for first quarter estimated tax payments for tax year 2023. These payments are usually due from those who do not have taxes withheld from their paychecks throughout the year, such as the self-employed, retirees, investors, businesses and corporations. Income not subject to withholding includes interest, dividends, capital gains, alimony and rental income. Paying estimated taxes in a timely fashion will lessen and even eliminate any penalties. Eligible taxpayers in recent disaster areas in California, Alabama, Georgia and now Tennessee have several deadlines extended to make their estimated payments. A current list of areas qualifying for disaster relief can be found at Tax Relief in Disaster Situations.

Debunking Tax Myths

“I don’t need to report income since I didn’t receive a Form 1099-K.” “If I file an extension, I don’t have to pay anything until October.” Find the truth about these and other myths before Tax Day.