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Be Alert to Scammers Who Pose as the IRS
Scammers pretending to be from the IRS continue to target taxpayers. These scams take many different forms. Among the most common are phone calls and fake emails. Thieves use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try and steal money from taxpayers. Identity theft can also happen with such scams.
Taxpayers need to be cautious of phone calls or automated messages from scammers who claim to be from the IRS. These criminals often say the taxpayer owes money. They also demand immediate payment. Scammers also lie to taxpayers and say they are due a refund. They do this to lure their victims into giving their bank account information over the phone. The IRS warns taxpayers not to fall for these scams.
Below are tips that will help avoid becoming a victim during the summer months and throughout the year:
The IRS will NOT:
- Call to demand immediate payment using specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS first mails a bill to taxpayers who owe taxes. If the IRS assigns a case to a Private Debt Collector (PCA), both the IRS and the authorized collection agency send a letter to the taxpayer. Payment is always to the United States Treasury.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand payment of taxes without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If a taxpayer does not owe any tax, they should:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.
If a taxpayer is not sure whether they owe any tax, they can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.
Taxpayers should also watch out for emails and websites looking to steal personal information. An IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, bogus email that claims to come from the IRS. Criminals often use fake refunds, phony tax bills or threats of an audit. Some emails link to fake websites that look real. The scammers’ goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If they’re successful, they use it to steal a victim’s money and their identity.
For taxpayers who get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:
- Don’t reply to the message.
- Don’t give out personal or financial information.
- Forward the email to email@example.com. Then delete it.
- Do not open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.
Avoid scams. The IRS does not initiate contact using social media or text message. The first contact normally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.
Additional IRS Resources:
- Identity Protection Tips
- Identity Protection Home Page
- Publication 5027, Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers
- Publication 5199, Tax Preparer Guide to Identity Theft
- Publication 4524, Security Awareness-Identity Theft Flyer
- Publication 4523, Beware of Phishing Schemes
IRS YouTube Videos:
- Tax Scams – English | Spanish | ASL
- Phishing-Malware – English | Spanish | ASL
- IRS ID Theft FAQ – Going After the Bad Guys – English | Spanish | ASL
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Trump wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, in order to “make the United States more competitive.”
This is truly dumb, for 5 reasons:
1. The White House says the United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Baloney. After corporate deductions and tax credits, the typical corporation pays an effective tax rate of 27.9 percent, only a tad higher than the average of 27.7 percent among advanced nations.
2. Trump’s corporate tax cut will bust the federal budget. According to the Congress’s own Join Committee on Taxation, it will reduce federal revenue by $2 trillion over 10 years. This will either require huge cuts in programs for the poor, or additional tax revenues from the rest of us.
3. The White House says the tax cuts will create a jump in economic growth that will generate enough new revenue to wipe out any increase in the budget deficit. This is supply-side nonsense. The Congressional Research Service reviewed tax cuts since 1945 and found no evidence they generate economic growth. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both cut taxes, and both ended their presidencies with huge budget deficits. Bill Clinton raised taxes, and the economy created more jobs than it did under Bush or Reagan.
4. American corporations don’t need a tax cut. They’re already hugely competitive as measured by their profits—which are at near record highs.
5. The White House says corporations will use the extra profits they get from the tax cut to invest in more capacity and jobs. Rubbish. They’re now using a large portion of their profits to buy back their shares of stock and to buy other companies, in order to raise their stock prices. There’s no reason to suppose they’ll do any different with even more profits.
Don’t fall for Trump’s corporate tax giveaway. It will be a huge windfall for corporations and a huge burden on ordinary Americans.
Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.” His website is www.robertreich.org.
We Hit a Nerve! Trump Lashes Out at Tax March Protesters.
|APR 17, 2017 — Thank you to everyone who hit the streets on Saturday to protest Trump’s unprecedented refusal to release his tax returns.
Over 125,000 people marched, in more than 200 communities nationwide, demanding transparency from our president. Many of you even handed out signs promoting this petition in cities like San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and even Honolulu. Check out photos from these marches on Change.org’s Facebook page: http://bit.ly/2pb1Djz
On Sunday, a clearly flustered Trump posted two tweets complaining about the Tax March.
At 6:07am Trump tweeted:
He followed that up with a tweet at 6:13am:
Newsflash, Mr. President. We marched because we’re patriots, and your refusal to release your taxes can only mean one thing. You have something to hide.
Here are some links to terrific coverage of and photos from the Tax March:
And check out this excellent USA Today op ed, which warns that if we don’t see Trump’s tax returns, his upcoming plans for tax reform will be “the art of the steal” where “the rest of us pay yet more tax while he, and probably his business partners and political allies, pay less.” http://usat.ly/2paTTOq
This week’s action? Please keep calling your House representative through our simple call-tool (just plug in your zip code and phone number and you’ll be connected): https://www.releasetrumpstaxes.org/#call-tool
Some suggested demands:
Finally, I want to extend a huge thank you to the Tax March organizers who worked so hard to make this happen. Their work isn’t over and you can still sign up to get updates from them here: http://bit.ly/2nwl9mV
Thank you again!
Seventy four percent.
That’s the overwhelming majority of Americans who want Donald Trump to release his tax returns, according to a recent poll conducted by ABC and The Washington Post.
Trump and his spin-artist Kellyanne Conway claim that “people don’t care” about the President’s foreign business dealings. But we know that’s simply not true.
Trump is the first president in 40 years not to release his tax returns. Keeping them a secret is a major violation of the American people’s trust.
That’s why Democratic senators introduced The Presidential Tax Transparency Act — so Trump has to disclose his most recent filings for the public to see.
There are pressing answers we must discover, like what Trump’s foreign business interests are and any conflicts of interests that could compromise his presidency.
Add your name to send a strong message that Americans are demanding Donald Trump release his tax returns before Tax Day.
Taxpayers who give money or property to others may wonder about the federal gift tax and if it applies. Most gifts are not subject to the gift tax.
Here are seven tax tips about the gift tax and giving:
1. Nontaxable Gifts. The general rule is that any gift is potentially taxable. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The following are nontaxable gifts:
- Gifts that do not exceed the annual exclusion amount for the calendar year,
- Tuition or medical expenses a taxpayer pays directly to a medical or educational institution for another person,
- A taxpayer’s gifts to their spouse,
- Gifts to a political organization for its use, and
- Gifts to charities.
2. Annual Exclusion. For 2016, the annual exclusion amount is $14,000. Most gifts are not subject to the gift tax. For example, there is usually no tax if the taxpayer makes a gift to their spouse or to a charity. If a taxpayer makes a gift to another person, the gift tax usually does not apply until the value of the gift exceeds the annual exclusion amount for the year.
3. No Tax on Recipient. Generally, the person who receives the gift will not have to pay tax on it.
4. Gifts Not Deductible. Making a gift does not ordinarily affect the taxpayer’s situation. A taxpayer cannot deduct the value of gifts they make (other than deductible charitable contributions as subject to the tax code).
5. Forgiven Debt and Certain Loans. Taxpayers who forgive debt or make a loan interest-free or below the applicable market interest rate may be subject to the gift tax.
6. Gift-Splitting. A taxpayer and their spouse can give up to $28,000 to a third party without making that gift taxable. Taxpayers need to consider one-half of the gift as from them and one-half given by their spouse.
7. Filing Requirement. Taxpayers need to file Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, if any of the following apply:
- The taxpayer gave gifts to at least one person (other than their spouse) that amounts to more than the annual exclusion for the year.
- The taxpayer and their spouse are splitting a gift. This is true even if half of the split gift is less than the annual exclusion.
- If the taxpayer gave a person (other than their spouse) a gift of a future interest that the recipient can’t actually possess, enjoy, or from which that person will receive income later.
- A taxpayer gifting their spouse an interest in property that will terminate due to a future event.
Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
IRS YouTube Videos: