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IRS moving quickly to stop tax scam

POSTED: February 21, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The Internal Revenue Service has issued a consumer warning for Georgia residents to be aware of a scam that is being operated in the area that involves the filing of a federal income tax return to get a refund of Social Security taxes paid.
The scam usually works by the victim paying the scam operator a fee to prepare a false refund claim and possibly a percentage of any refund to be received.
This hoax fleeces the victims for the up-front fees. Plus, the law does not allow refunds of Social Security taxes paid, so participants could be subject to a penalty for filing a false tax return.
"The IRS is very concerned that some people in the metro Atlanta area have fallen for this scam," IRS spokesman Mark Green said. "If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Getting a refund of Social Security taxes is generally not an option and, in this case, it's not legal."
Green said the IRS became aware of the problem when alert workers in the Atlanta IRS office noticed that several people were coming in and asking for copies of their Social Security income statements. When questioned, some of the people explained that a person was preparing refund claims for them.
The IRS and Social Security Administration immediately focused their efforts on locating the person or persons preparing the false claims.
Green said that while he can't comment on the specifics of the case, the IRS is gathering information and working to stop the scam from spreading.
Green said if anyone received a refund from one of these false claims before the scam was detected, the law requires those taxpayers to return the funds. If they have cashed the check, the IRS will usually work with them to arrange return of the funds.
Anyone who has information about suspected tax fraud or a tax scam should call the IRS Tax Fraud Hotline at 1-800-829-0433. Read more about tax scams and how to recognize them at www.irs.gov.
 

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