IRS Releases 2016 “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams

The IRS released their annual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams.  The IRS releases an updated list every year.  The IRS developed this list to help you identify the top tax scams.

Phone Scams

These types of scams have grown significantly over the past year or two.  I have received calls from several of my clients saying they received a tax scam call.  Scammers claiming to be from the IRS are calling people to collect fake IRS debt.  These scammers will use aggressive tactics such as threatening to call the police and revoking your driver’s license.  If you receive a questionable call; the IRS will never threaten you and the IRS can’t accept a payment over the phone.


This is when the scammer uses a fake website or email with official looking IRS information such as the IRS logo.  The scammer will ask for personal information.  I recommend you delete all emails you receive from the IRS.  The IRS will never send you an email regarding any tax matter.

Return Preparer Fraud

Not all tax preparers are created equal.  There are good tax preparers and there are dishonest tax preparers.  Stay clear of any tax preparer that is willing to make up information on your tax return.

Offshore Tax Avoidance

The government has cracked down on U.S. Citizens hiding income overseas.

Inflated Refund Claims

Beware of any tax preparer that is willing to make up information on your tax return to increase the refund.  These types of tax preparers may also charged fees based on the size of your refund which is not allowed.

Fake Charities

There are groups that use names similar to larger known charities to scam you.  You can check out the nonprofit status of any charity by going to and searching for “EO Select Check.”

Falsely Padding Deductions on Returns

Don’t artificially increase your deductions so you can get a larger refund or reduce the taxes owed.

Excessive Claims for Business Credits

The main business credit the IRS is paying attention too is the fuel tax credit.

Falsifying Income to Claim Credits

The IRS increased their focus on tax preparers that artificially increase income on a tax return to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Abusive Tax Shelters

An abusive tax shelter is a tax avoidance scheme.  These schemes are promoted as legitimate tax saving tools but the schemes are not legal.