As if the pain of filing our taxes wasn’t enough we now have to experience the onslaught of nefarious attempts to exploit our anxiety about correctly filing and paying our income taxes.
I’ve already received dozens of spam and phishing emails over the course of the past few months from evil doers - probably some kid in Russia - trying to convince me to accept their offer to help me receive more money in my federal income tax return. After all, the word stimulus is all over the news and those of us struggling to stay afloat in this wretched economy would love nothing better than some good financial news right now.
But as they say - BUYER BEWARE. All is not as it seems.
To that end, the IRS has a list of what they fondly call their Dirty Dozen where they highlight tax scams. They do this every year - here’s the link for the 2009 list:
(Note: If you have problems with the link just search on 2009 Dirty Dozen at www.irs.gov.)
The scams range from Fuel Tax Credit and Hiding Income Offshore to Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions. As you can tell from the topics some of these might even seem plausible to most people, after all, there are tax benefits to donating money to charities and even some energy tax credits. But these scams are fiction. They take a kernel of sometimes truthful information and twist it to get a certain outcome. It’s not lost on me that as fiction writers we often attempt to do the same thing.
To educate and protect yourself against tax scams do check out the IRS website, particularly the link above. But when you find a good piece of fiction to read, enjoy the ride because there is one major difference between fiction writers and scammers - we let you know up front that we’re taking you for a ride, and one we hope you’ll enjoy and come out on the other end of that ride feeling that you got your moneys worth for the price of the read. So, keep your fictional experiences to reading a good book.