Five Ways to Protect Clients from 'The Sleazy Six' Tax Season Scams

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Tax Season 2017: What's Working. What's Not
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By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

Internal Revenue Service workers may be chronically understaffed, but they're not stupid. They’ve been in the tax collection business since the Civil War, and the IRS has been harvesting income tax since 1913. It has processed billions of tax returns, and it knows the tricks that taxpayers often try. It also knows the tricks that wanna-be cheats use to exploit the tax system, effectively robbing the honest people who pay what they owe.

For the last three years, the IRS has given a name to the most common schemes to swindle either taxpayers or the nation’s treasury. It calls them “The Dirty Dozen.” This year, half the dozen are scams by third parties that attempt to rip off taxpayers. The other half are taxpayer attempts to effectively rip off their government.

MORE on TAX SEASON:  Five-Point Action Plan for Turning Tax Scam Threats into New Opportunities  |  Taxes: Beyond Income to Gas and More   |   Readers Sound Off: What Tax Season Decline?  |  Overhyping IBM’s Watson Is Dangerous  |  Average Tax Refund by State   |  irms Face Staff Turnover Tsunami  |

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Sleazy tax tactics don’t do a practicing accountant any good. The slime taints the tax pro, and the pro may be put in the very uncomfortable position of having to defend the taxpayer before an IRS agent. This is not the light tax preparers look for at the end of the busy season tunnel. They’re thinking “Bahamas,” not “IRS office.”

Clients who know about the Dirty Half-Dozen will be disinclined to try a trick the IRS is expecting. Sharing the list will go far to ward off problems.

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Rick Telberg

Rick Telberg

About the Author

Rick Telberg is a veteran analyst, advisor, commentator, editor and publisher. He brings a unique background and perspective to research and advisory services for the professional services community.

Mr. Telberg may well be the accounting profession's most widely-known commentator through his long associations with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Accounting Today magazine, and today, CPA Trendlines.

As an expert in management, marketing, media and e-commerce, Mr. Telberg has served as Senior Editorial Director of Pro2Net Corp., now www.smartpros.com, and as Director of Online Content at CPA2Biz, www.cpa.com.

Previously, Mr. Telberg served as the early Editor-in-Chief of Accounting Today, and as Vice President/Group Publisher at Thomson Financial (now SourceMedia), overseeing Practical Accountant, Accounting Technology, and what is now AccountingToday.com.

Mr. Telberg was presented with a special citation by the National Society of Accountants for service to the profession and has served on a variety of boards and steering committees, including BKR International and the IBM Small Business Advisory Council. He is a graduate of New York University.

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