Helpful tips to avoid tax problems

Straight from the evil-overlord’s mouth, here are the “dirty dozen” tax frauds that you should strive to avoid. The IRS will be watching for these especially carefully. Here’s a sample:

3. Phishing is a technique used by identity thieves to acquire personal financial data in order to gain access to the financial accounts of unsuspecting consumers, run up charges on their credit cards or apply for loans in their names. These Internet-based criminals pose as representatives of a financial institution — or sometimes the IRS itself — and send out fictitious e-mail correspondence in an attempt to trick consumers into disclosing private information. A typical e-mail notifies a taxpayer of an outstanding refund and urges the taxpayer to click on a hyperlink and visit an official-looking Web site. The Web site then solicits a social security and credit card number. It is important to note the IRS does not use e-mail to initiate contact with taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. If a taxpayer has any doubt whether a contact from the IRS is authentic, the taxpayer should call 1-800-829-1040 to confirm it.

12. Frivolous Arguments: Promoters have been known to make the following outlandish claims: the Sixteenth Amendment concerning congressional power to lay and collect income taxes was never ratified; wages are not income; filing a return and paying taxes are merely voluntary; and being required to file Form 1040 violates the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination or the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Don’t believe these or other similar claims. These arguments are false and have been thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law.

If you don’t do your taxes yourself and want to try to avoid unethical tax preparers that might suck you into these or other tax abuses which will lead to trouble, I’ve been a fan of Consumerist for finding reliable consumer help on practically anything. Searching the site for “Tax preparation” yielded a few potentially helpful threads.

[tags]IRS Dirty-Dozen tax schemes, Avoid these illegal or unethical tax frauds[/tags]