IRS, U.S. Attorney’s Office urge taxpayers to remain vigilant of scams

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/10/2020 05:30 PM
MUSKOGEE – The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma reminded taxpayers of the July 15 filing and payment deadline and warned against an increase in tax and COVID-19 scams.

Due to COVID-19, the original filing deadline and tax payment due date for 2019 was postponed from April 15 to July 15. Taxpayers filing Form 1040 series returns must file Form 4868 by July 15 to obtain the automatic extension to Oct. 15.

“Although the extension provides additional time to file the tax return – it is not an extension to pay any taxes due”, said Tamera Cantu, special Agent in charge of IRS-CI’s Dallas Field Office. “For people facing hardships who cannot pay in full, including those affected by COVID-19, the IRS has several options available to help. The IRS encourages taxpayers to visit IRS.gov as soon as possible to explore these options and avoid accruing interest and penalties after the July 15 deadline.”

As the filing deadline approaches, taxpayers should beware of tax and COVID-19 related scams. “The unfortunate reality is that criminals will use any number of methods to attempt to defraud others, including the upcoming federal tax filing deadline,” said U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. “It is vitally important for taxpayers to be wary of potential scams directed at stealing personal and financial information. It is not the practice of the IRS to initiate contact with citizens via telephone, e-mail or social media to request personal or financial information.”

In the past few months, the IRS Criminal Investigation division has continued to see a tremendous increase in a variety of Economic Impact Payment scams and other financial schemes. CI continues to work with its law enforcement partners to put a stop to these schemes and bring criminals to justice.
Taxpayers can report COVID-19 scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Unsolicited e-mails that appear to be from the IRS should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov.

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