Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Don’t be scammed.

Every tax filing season tax scams and frauds increase exponentially. I suspect that scammers pick up on overall IRS anxiety and use that to get victims to send them money more easily. This year the Treasury Inspector General has said that so far 2014 has seen the highest level of scammer activity ever, with some 20,000 contacts reported already.

Some advice: If you are contacted by telephone by someone claiming to be from IRS, it’s most likely a fraud. IRS usually initiates audits and collection efforts by mail. IRS will NEVER contact you by way of social media, texting or email. IRS will NEVER threaten you with deportation, jail, or cancellation of a driver’s license if you fail to pay your taxes, nor will IRS ever ask for a credit card, wire transfer, or debit card payment over the phone.

The new version of scams often appears legit and the phone number registers as an IRS number on your phone. If you are ever contacted by phone from someone claiming to be from IRS, hang up and call IRS at (800)829-1040 to determine if it’s official.

Monday, March 17, 2014

High Risk Occupation?

Our Tax Season is in full swing now, and the entire staff is working themselves to death trying to keep up with the influx of projects. Regardless, nobody actually expects to die at work in a CPA firm. Other than clogging a few arteries with the ever present cookies and snacks that seem to show up, you wouldn’t think that being a tax preparer is high risk.

Well, apparently that’s not always the case.  In Missouri a 53 year old man was arrested for choking an H&R Block worker after he became enraged over his tax situation. The assailant knocked the Block worker to the ground and is now charged with assault. The Block worker sustained minor injuries.

In Detroit, a local tax preparer was beaten and four people were shot in her office when a client was told she could not get her tax refund in cash. A friend who was with the client apparently was upset about the cash and took it upon himself to expedite things.

But it hasn’t all been one sided. A few weeks ago a Chicago tax preparer had to pull a gun on a client when the client threatened to beat him up over a fee increase. Apparently the tax pro had some concerns as he was licensed to carry the gun and was not arrested. The client however, was.

Here’s a suggestion: when you meet with your tax preparer, the first thing you should ask is if they are packing heat.  Depending on the answer you may want to be more polite than usual.