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Sacramento Tax Law Blog

IRS Releases Complete "Dirty Dozen" List of Tax Scams for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released its top-12 list of tax scams to watch for in the current tax year, an annual list called the "Dirty Dozen." Topping the list in 2018 are the perennial telephone and phishing scams, identity theft, and return preparer fraud. Also included are acts such as falsely padding deductions, making improper claims for business credits, and falsifying income. For the complete list and information from the IRS on how to protect yourself from tax scams, click here.

Estimated $1.1 Billion in Federal Refunds Awaiting 2014 Tax Return Filings

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates it is holding about $1.1 billion in unclaimed federal income tax refunds for approximately 1 million taxpayers who did not file a 2014 federal tax return. The deadline to file a 2014 return to collect any refund due is this year's tax deadline, Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Disclose Your Foreign Assets Now - IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Will End This Year!

For those taxpayers who may still be on the fence about whether to voluntarily disclose offshore assets, the time to decide is now! The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) will close on September 28, 2018.

IRS Warns Taxpayers about Aggressive Phone Scams this Tax Filing Season

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has included phone scams on its "Dirty Dozen" list of common tax scams for the 2018 filing season. Taxpayers should be aware of criminals posing as IRS agents and making threatening or aggressive demands for money through phone calls. According to the IRS, this is the time of year when they see a jump in the number of reports of scam phone calls threatening potential victims with arrest, deportation, or license revocation if payment demands are not met immediately.

Tax-Related Identity Theft on the Decline, but Stay Vigilant

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is keeping tax-related identity theft on its "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams to watch for in 2018, despite a significant decline in this type of crime in recent years. Tax-related identity theft is the act of using a stolen taxpayer identification number to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund. In 2017, the IRS received 242,000 reports of identity theft, compared to 401,000 reports in 2016. This is due in part to the Security Summit partnership, launched in 2015, which has enacted various safeguards to prevent tax-related crimes. However, identity theft remains on the IRS' list of most common tax-related crimes. To read suggestions to protect yourself and your business from identity theft, click here.

Phishing Remains on the IRS "Dirty Dozen" List of Tax Scams in 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) kicked off its annual "Dirty Dozen" awareness campaign about common tax scams for 2018 with a reminder that phishing schemes are still a serious threat to personal information safety, and are evolving. The most recent variation on phishing (previously described here) involves an unexpected deposit into the bank account of a target. Criminals are filing fraudulent tax returns, and directing refunds to be deposited into real bank accounts of victims. The criminals then call the victim who received the deposit and demand the return of the funds as erroneous.

New Resource for Tax Professionals on Federal Tax Reform

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a special landing page to share information with tax professionals concerning the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  Click through for the latest press releases, publications, and IRS legal guidance on the changes made by the latest tax reform:

IRS Failed to Notify Most Victims of Employment Identity Theft

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released a report finding that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has failed to notify the majority of individuals they found to be victims of employment identity theft.  When an identity thief uses another individual's information to obtain employment, the victim may have taxes computed based on income they did not personally earn, and may experience other difficulties.  The IRS has a computer-based process to notify victims of the issue, but due to a programming error related to a decision to notify only newly identified victims, the IRS failed to notify over 450,000 individuals for processing year 2017.  In addition, over 15,000 individuals who did receive notice (13.5 percent of the total group notified) were not actually victims of employment identity theft.

Beware of Erroneous Refunds from Scammers this Tax Season!

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers about a new, multi-layer scam this tax season: erroneous refunds. Criminals are filing fraudulent returns to get money deposited into victims' accounts using data stolen from tax professionals, then posing as debt collection agency officials to request that the victims "return" the money due to an error. Other victims are receiving recorded messages threatening the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges and other consequences if the erroneous refund is not returned.

Californians to Vote on Two Tax-Related Ballot Measures in June 2018

Californians will be able to vote on two new legislative measures related to taxes on the June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election ballot.

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