From the IRS Media Relations Office in St. Louis, there is a tax scam in the Kansas and Missouri area that is targeting seniors with a promise of a rebate or refund for withholding from Social Security. According to the IRS's Michael T. Devine;
“We are seeing a scam that encourages seniors to file tax returns, for a fee, to get a refund on withholding from Social Security,” explained IRS spokesman Michael Devine. “But because there was no withholding from the Social Security benefits, the return is false and the refund is neither allowed nor legitimate.”
According to the IRS, flyers and advertisements for free money from the IRS, suggesting that the taxpayer can file a return and get a refund with little or no documentation, have been appearing in community churches around the country. These schemes are often spread by word of mouth among unsuspecting and well-intentioned people telling their friends and relatives, especially those who normally do not have a filing requirement."
The IRS says taxpayers should be wary of any of the following:
· Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on excess or withheld Social Security benefits.
· Claims that Treasury Form 1080 can be used to transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS enabling a payout from the IRS.
· Unfamiliar for-profit tax services teaming up with local churches.
· Home-made flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility.
· Offers of free money with no documentation required.
· Promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns.”
· Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or Recovery Rebate Credit.
· Advice on using the Earned Income Tax Claims based on exaggerated reports of self-employment income.
· In some cases non-existent Social Security refunds or rebates have been the bait used by the con artists. In other situations, taxpayers deserve the tax credits they are promised but the preparer uses fictitious or inflated information on the return which results in a fraudulent return.
Let's face it, Seniors are easy targets for many scam simply because they are part of a more trusting generation. Add to the fact that they are getting the info at church and from friends who yet don't realised they have been scammed, it's easy to see how they can fall victim. If you or someone you know hears of any tax program that promises them money back, please contact the IRS (800-829-1040) to check on the program.