Does Your Tax Refund Seem Too Good To Be True? Maybe It Is.


All year, people eagerly await their tax refund. It can feel like free money, even if it isn’t.

But tax refunds are also a great “in” for scammers to swindle your money.

The IRS warned taxpayers last week to be on the look out for scammers posing as tax preparers.

“Every filing season, scam artists lure victims in by promising outlandish refunds,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Fremont Tribune. “Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund.”

Are you being offered a tax refund that is too good to be true? Maybe it is.

More details on the scam, from the Fremont Tribune:

Scam artists routinely pose as tax preparers during tax time, luring victims in by promising large federal tax refunds or refunds that people never dreamed they were due in the first place.

Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts and even word of mouth to throw out a wide net for victims. They may even spread the word through community groups or churches where trust is high. Scammers prey on people who do not have a filing requirement, such as low-income individuals or the elderly. They also prey on non-English speakers, who may or may not have a filing requirement.

Scammers build false hope by duping people into making claims for fictitious rebates, benefits or tax credits. They charge good money for very bad advice. Or worse, they file a false return in a person’s name and that person never knows that a refund was paid.

Remember: you are legally responsible for what is on your tax return, even if you’ve paid someone to prepare it for you.

For that reason, thoroughly vet your tax preparer this tax season. And if you’re tax refund is looking too good to be true, it probably is.

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