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As part of its ongoing commitment to safeguard taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is highlighting International Fraud Awareness Week, emphasizing the need for individuals to shield personal and financial information from potential scam artists and tax schemes. Running until November 18, this awareness campaign aims to minimize the impact of fraud through education and heightened vigilance.

IRS’s Ongoing Efforts to Combat Fraud

The IRS, including its Office of Fraud Enforcement and Criminal Investigation division, is actively engaged in raising awareness about fraud and scams impacting taxpayers nationwide. The agency encourages individuals, businesses, and tax professionals to familiarize themselves with the red flags of scams and implement necessary defenses against scammers and promoters of unscrupulous tax schemes.

Year-round Vigilance Against Tax Scams

While International Fraud Awareness Week spotlights international fraud, the IRS maintains a year-round commitment to raising awareness about various tax scams and schemes. This includes the annual Dirty Dozen list of tax scams and efforts to address improper claims related to the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).

Focus on Offshore Tax Evasion and ERC Claims

The IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement (OFE) is actively working to combat tax avoidance schemes, including those featured in the 2023 IRS Dirty Dozen list. Particularly, schemes involving unscrupulous asset protection professionals or promoters luring individuals into placing assets in offshore accounts are under scrutiny. The IRS emphasizes its ability to combat offshore tax evasion using a range of tools and international partnerships.

Additionally, the IRS warns about the high volume of incorrect and improper Employee Retention Credit claims. Scammers are enticing individuals with false offers online, through social media, and even via unsolicited communications, leading to potentially incorrect claims and legal repercussions.

Protecting Small Businesses from Scams

Recognizing that businesses, especially small enterprises, are potential targets for cybercriminals, the IRS underscores the importance of cybersecurity measures. Small businesses are advised to implement best practices, including multi-factor authentication, automatic security software updates, regular file backups, and strong password requirements.

Reporting Fraud to the IRS

Individuals witnessing abusive tax schemes or suspecting fraudulent activities are urged to report them. The IRS provides avenues for reporting, including mailing a completed Form 14242 to the Lead Development Center in California or sending information to the IRS Whistleblower Office for potential monetary rewards.

Remaining Vigilant Against Common Scams

Taxpayers are reminded to stay vigilant against common IRS impersonation scams, which may involve fake emails, text messages, and phone calls. The IRS reaffirms that it does not initiate unexpected contact through these channels to request personal or financial information.

By disseminating information and encouraging a proactive approach, the IRS aims to empower taxpayers, businesses, and tax professionals to guard against fraud and maintain the integrity of the tax system.

Source (IRS News).