IRS YouTube Video:
Tax Refund Scams:
IR-2012-29, March 2, 2012
WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue
Service today warned senior citizens and other
taxpayers to beware of an emerging scheme tempting
them to file tax returns claiming fraudulent
The scheme carries a common theme
of promising refunds to people who have little or no
income and normally don’t have a tax filing
requirement. Under the scheme, promoters claim they
can obtain for their victims, often senior citizens,
a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based
on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, even if the
victim was not enrolled in or paying for college.
In recent weeks, the IRS has
identified and stopped an upsurge of these bogus
refund claims coming in from across the United
States. The IRS is actively investigating the
sources of the scheme, and its promoters may be
subject to criminal prosecution.
“This is a disgraceful effort by
scam artists to take advantage of people by giving
them false hopes of a nonexistent refund,” said IRS
Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We want to warn innocent
taxpayers about this new scheme before more people
Typically, con artists falsely
claim that refunds are available even if the victim
went to school decades ago. In many cases, scammers
are targeting seniors, people with very low incomes
and members of church congregations with bogus
promises of free money.
The IRS has also seen a variation
of this scheme that incorrectly claims the college
credit is available to compensate people for paying
taxes on groceries.
The IRS has already detected and
stopped thousands of these fraudulent claims.
Nevertheless, the scheme can still be quite costly
for victims. Promoters may charge exorbitant upfront
fees to file these claims and are often long gone
when victims discover they’ve been scammed.
The IRS is reminding people to be
careful because all taxpayers, including those who
use paid tax preparers, are legally responsible for
the accuracy of their returns, and must repay any
refunds received in error.