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IRS Special Agent Warns about 2023 Tax Scams and offers taxpayer tips

Scams, Rusty Clark, 100k photos, CC by 2.0.jpg
Rusty Clark-100k photos
Creative Commons CC by 2.0

As the April 18 deadline approaches for filing federal income tax approaches, KSFR reporter Mary Lou Cooper talks with Internal Revenue Service Special agent Brian Watson about tax scams. The IRS special agent discusses major tax fraud in our region.

Watson also offers taxpayers tips to avoid audits and more.

Top scam during tax season:

  • Phishing—i.e. e-mails, texts or phony phone calls from fraudsters claiming to be from the IRS.  The purpose is to get your personal information.  Scammers may ask you to pay fines using a gift card—don’t do it.  Legitimate IRS communications come through the mail.  

Who is most vulnerable to tax scams:

  • Immigrants and seniors and even first-time filers who are not familiar with our income tax system.

Tips to avoid audits include:

  • File all your income
  • Don’t take deductions you’re not entitled to. 

Most common taxpayer errors:

  • Typically arise from rushing as the filing deadline approaches. Examples are math errors or not including all the required forms.  File an estimated payment and request a free 6-month extension to file your actual tax return. 

Mary Lou Cooper reports on consumer issues for KSFR as well as on politics and elder affairs. She has worked for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Nevada and Tennessee legislatures, and remains a political junkie. She worked many years for an association of Western state legislatures and was a contributor to “Capitol Ideas,” a national magazine about state government. In 2016 Cooper received a public service award from the New Mexico Broadcasting Association for her KSFR story on Internet romance scams. She has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and from the National Federation of Press Women. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Texas Austin. She also holds fiction and screenwriting certificates from the University of Washington.