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1. Phishing -- Have you received an e-mail that appears to be from the IRS? It's probably not. Instead, it could be from a scammer. The IRS does not use e-mail, texts or social media to contact taxpayers for personal or financial information, so relay any such messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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3. Identity theft -- Tax time is an especially high time for instances of identity theft. Be sure to always use security software with firewall and antivirus protections, encrypt sensitive tax files stored on computers and use strong passwords. In addition, don't routinely carry a Social Security card and make sure any paper tax records are secure.
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5. Bogus charities -- Especially in the wake of natural disasters, scammers come out of the woodwork and solicit donations for bogus charities. Some will even impersonate the IRS and contact disaster victims, claiming to be able to help them file casualty loss claims or obtain refunds. IRS.gov has tools to help taxpayers check out the status of charitable organizations.
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6. Inflated refund claims -- Watch out for anyone promising a big refund before looking at you records. Other warning signs are preparers who ask you to sign a blank return or charge fees based on a percentage of your tax refund. Such fraudsters often use flyers, advertisements and phony storefronts to find victims.
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7. Excessive claims for business credits -- Avoid improperly claiming the fuel tax credit, a tax benefit generally not available to most taxpayers. The credit is usually limited to off-highway business use, including use in farming. Taxpayers should also avoid misuse of the research credit. Improper claims often involve failures to participate in or substantiate qualified research activities and/or satisfy the requirements related to qualified research expenses.
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