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IRS Criminal Investigation targets tax fraud, urges citizens to protect themselves this tax season

WASHINGTON D.C. — IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) dedicates 70% of its time and resources to investigating tax crimes that include questionable refund schemes, return preparer fraud, abusive tax schemes, and more. This tax season, CI is cracking down on schemes that victimize U.S. taxpayers.

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In the fiscal year 2023 CI initiated 1,409 tax crime investigations and identified $5.5 billion in tax fraud.

655 defendants were sentenced for tax crimes during the last fiscal year.

“Tax crimes surge during filing season because criminals steal unknowing taxpayers’ information, hack into the servers of CPA firms and tax preparation services and victimize unsuspecting taxpayers with the false promise of huge tax refunds,” said CI Chief Jim Lee.

CI urges U.S. taxpayers to be vigilant this tax season:

  • Avoid return preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers or whose fee is a percentage of your tax refund.
  • Use a reputable tax professional who signs and enters a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) on your tax return and provides you with a copy of the return for your records.
  • Never sign a blank tax form and ensure your refund goes to your account, not your tax preparer’s
  • Protect your personal and financial information. Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return or those claiming to be from the IRS. These messages are fraudulent and could contain malware that could compromise your personal information.
  • Report fraud to law enforcement. Submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral, if you suspect an individual or a business is committing fraud.

The 2024 Tax Filing Season begins Jan. 29, and the deadline to file, pay any tax owed or request an extension to file for most of the nation is April 15.

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Carl-Max Millionard, WFTV.com

Carl-Max Millionard is a Content Creator for WFTV.com.