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.
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, who formerly appeared on the reality TV series "The Jersey Shore," pleaded guilty to a charge of tax evasion for years in which he concealed a portion of his income to avoid paying the full amount of taxes owed. Sorrentino's brother, Marc, also pleaded guilty to a charge of aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return for underreporting income and providing his tax return preparers with false information.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning about possible fake charity scams related to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Taxpayers should be sure the charities they want to support are recognized by the government to accept donations. Don't let your compassion get the best of you - be careful who you send your money and information. The IRS offers the following tips to help you protect your interests while also supporting causes you care about:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has just obtained specialized software for identifying users of bitcoins and other virtual currency. According to a work contract obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Daily Beast, the IRS hopes to use this software "to identify and obtain evidence on individuals using bitcoin to either laundry money or conceal income as part of tax fraud or other Federal crimes."
A group of private business owners have filed suit in a dispute with the IRS over reimbursement for their involvement in a sting operation to identify people filing fraudulent tax returns. "I think it is unusual for the IRS to use a private business in a sting operation," Betty Williams wrote. "If the plaintiffs are not made whole, this is simply a very sad story." Learn more in the Northern California Record, here.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as part of the Security Summit, is urging tax professionals to stay vigilant with regard to a variety of e-mail scams and "spear phishing" that aim to steal personal information about clients and companies. Between January and May 2017, some 177 tax professionals or firms reported data thefts involving thousands of clients' information.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has released its semi-annual report to Congress for the period October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017. The reports summarizes data about the agency's notable audits, investigations, inspections, and evaluations to provide oversight to the IRS.
On May 10, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to all Federal prosecutors, laying out the core principles of charging and sentencing policy for the Department of Justice under the Trump Administration. Namely, prosecutors have been instructed to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" and "disclose to the sentencing court all facts that impact the sentencing guidelines or mandatory minimum sentences." Exceptions to the "strict application" of these guidelines must be clearly documented and then approved by a U.S. Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, or designated supervisor. This new policy memorandum explicitly rescinds certain policies set forth by the Obama Administration.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is recommending that the IRS expand the criteria used to refer potential criminal cases for investigation for certain employers that fail to remit payroll taxes to the IRS. TIGTA found that tax noncompliance in employment tax matters is growing, and as of December 2015 the IRS is owed nearly $46 billion in unpaid employment taxes, interest, and penalties.
The Department of Justice unsealed an indictment today charging 61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a call center scam that has victimized tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and resulted in losses totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Twenty individuals were arrested in the U.S. and other individuals and entities in India were charged with conspiracy to commit identity theft, false personation of an officer of the United States, wire fraud, and money laundering.