Irs Warning Taxpayers About New Email Scams Irs Lock In Letters What S An Employer To Do Taxpayer Advocate Customer Service At The Irs Irs Lock In Letters What S An Employer To Do Tax Credit Amount For Lexus Gs 450 Hybrid Issued By Irs Tax Season Time For Scams

If you have an email account, you know about all the scam emails you get. Scammers are getting braver and using the IRS name in their new tactics.

IRS Warning Taxpayers About New Email Scams

The IRS has begun warning taxpayers that it is seeing a surge in tax scam emails.

Many of the emails even have the hubris to use the IRS name! Brave souls, indeed. Regardless, the scams seem to fall in the area of identity theft through phishing tactics.

First and foremost, you should understand that the IRS does NOT send emails to taxpayers. Never, never, never! If you get an email from the IRS, it is a fake. Unconditionally! Do not respond to it under any circumstances. Do not click links in the body of the email. Take one action and one action only – delete it!

Since the turn of the year, the IRS has identified 99 new email scams targeted at taxpayers. All of the scams are aimed at bilking you out of your private information. Most try to do this by claiming your must provide information or your will not receive your tax refund. In some cases, the fake emails threaten you with an audit. Again, this is all false information.

Many people fall victim to the IRS scam emails because they click through to the site linked in the email. There, they find a site that appears for all intensive purposes to be the one published by the IRS. Make no mistake – this means nothing. Anyone can copy and republish a site. Yes, even the site of the IRS. It is pretty scary when you think about it. Best Buy, in fact, had major problems with this for some time.

So, where are these scammers? It should come as no surprise that few in the boundaries of the United States would have the nerve to try this. Instead, the IRS has tracked most of the scamming emails to other countries, but not necessarily the usual suspects. The countries include England, Italy, Japan, Germany, Australia and Singapore. Usual suspects include China, Aruba, Mexico, Indonesia and Argentina. Surprisingly, only a few have originated from the scam mecca of Nigeria.

The best way to beat scammers is to know the facts. The IRS does not communicate in any way with taxpayers by email. If you get an email purportedly from the IRS, it is a fake. If you have a nagging doubt, call the agency to find out if anything is up. Otherwise, delete that email!

Employers often ask employees to designate the amount of tax withholdings for paychecks. Occasionally, employees will fail to withhold a sufficient amount in the eyes of the IRS. The IRS will then send a “lock-in” letter on the amount to be withheld. What’s an employer to do?

Withholdings

Four taxes must be withheld from employee paychecks – Medicare, Social Security, Federal Income and State Income tax. The Medicare tax is set at roughly 1.5 percent of salary while social security is set at 6.2 percent. The withholding for federal and state income tax, however, is subject to adjustments made by employees. The amount of tax required to be withheld by the IRS requires a calculation beyond the scope of this article, but you can look to the “Employer’s Tax Guide” on the IRS web site.

If an employee claims excessive deductions that result in insufficient withholdings, the IRS may respond. The typical response is to send an employer a “lock-in” letter.

The lock-in letter tells the employer to increase the amount of withholding tax of the employee. The IRS will actually specify the maximum number of withholding exemptions the employee can claim. The more exemptions claimed, the less tax withheld in each paycheck. The IRS will also send a copy of the correspondence to the employee.

As an employer, you must comply with the IRS lock-in letter. The IRS will designate a specific compliance date. Better to have died a small child than fail to comply with the letter. Failure to comply will result in the tax liability transferring from the employee to the employer. The employer can also expect the unwanted attention of IRS auditors. In short, make absolutely sure you comply with the lock-in letter.

What should you do if you receive a lock-in letter, but the employee no longer works for you? You must send a written response to the IRS office listed in the correspondence. The response must state the employee no longer works for you and the last date of employment to the best of your knowledge.

What should you do if the employee refuses to comply with the lock-in letter? You must comply with the lock-in letter. The employee’s wish is irrelevant and you have no discretion in the matter. Instead, the employee should be told to contact the IRS directly and request a modification to the lock-in letter.

Lock-in letters can cause stress in employee-employer relationships. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about.

Every business has a department that deals with complaints from customers. At the IRS, this department is known as the taxpayer advocate office.

Advocating for You

The purpose of the taxpayer advocate office is to provide taxpayers with a friendly source to handle customer service issues. The office is run independent of the IRS and has offices at every IRS center in the nation. The taxpayer advocate has a stated goal of resolving your problem with the IRS in seven short days. It doesn’t always happen, but it is a nice goal.

The taxpayer advocate has a surprising amount of power. The advocate agents can rifle through the IRS computers at will, which makes them great at locating filings the IRS claims never occurred. The advocate can also stop collection efforts by the IRS and even release tax liens on your bank account or property. Basically, the advocate office is the place to go when you think you are getting a raw deal from the IRS.

The taxpayer advocate agents do not take any old case. In general, you have to show the IRS is unresponsive to your problem or causing you a major hardship. For instance, if your correspondence to the IRS is not being responded to, the advocate can crack the whip on your behalf. If the IRS puts a lien on your bank account, but you’re in the hospital, the advocated can release it. The advocate, however, does not give tax advice or fight audits for you.

If you wish to get the taxpayer advocate involved in your IRS situation, you should write the office in your area. Just search for taxpayer advocate online to get the location. Your letter should include a concise description of the problem, copies of your supporting documents, copies of what the IRS has sent you and a telephone number where you can be reached. In an emergency situation, you can call the taxpayer advocate by contacting the local IRS office. This should only be done in an emergency.

The IRS is undoubtedly a dysfunctional government agency. The taxpayer advocate can help you get things straightened out when dealing with the IRS.

Employers often ask employees to designate the amount of tax withholdings for paychecks. Occasionally, employees will fail to withhold a sufficient amount in the eyes of the IRS. The IRS will then send a “lock-in” letter on the amount to be withheld. What’s an employer to do?

Withholdings

Four taxes must be withheld from employee paychecks – Medicare, Social Security, Federal Income and State Income tax. The Medicare tax is set at roughly 1.5 percent of salary while social security is set at 6.2 percent. The withholding for federal and state income tax, however, is subject to adjustments made by employees. The amount of tax required to be withheld by the IRS requires a calculation beyond the scope of this article, but you can look to the “Employer’s Tax Guide” on the IRS web site.

If an employee claims excessive deductions that result in insufficient withholdings, the IRS may respond. The typical response is to send an employer a “lock-in” letter.

The lock-in letter tells the employer to increase the amount of withholding tax of the employee. The IRS will actually specify the maximum number of withholding exemptions the employee can claim. The more exemptions claimed, the less tax withheld in each paycheck. The IRS will also send a copy of the correspondence to the employee.

As an employer, you must comply with the IRS lock-in letter. The IRS will designate a specific compliance date. Better to have died a small child than fail to comply with the letter. Failure to comply will result in the tax liability transferring from the employee to the employer. The employer can also expect the unwanted attention of IRS auditors. In short, make absolutely sure you comply with the lock-in letter.

What should you do if you receive a lock-in letter, but the employee no longer works for you? You must send a written response to the IRS office listed in the correspondence. The response must state the employee no longer works for you and the last date of employment to the best of your knowledge.

What should you do if the employee refuses to comply with the lock-in letter? You must comply with the lock-in letter. The employee’s wish is irrelevant and you have no discretion in the matter. Instead, the employee should be told to contact the IRS directly and request a modification to the lock-in letter.

Lock-in letters can cause stress in employee-employer relationships. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about.

Prior to January 1, 2006, you were restricted to claiming a $2,000 tax deduction if you purchased a hybrid car. Now you can claim a tax credit, which is much more valuable.

Tax Credit Amount for Lexus GS 450 Hybrid Issued By IRS

Conspiracy theorists often offer rather exotic arguments about how the government tries to control us. When it comes to taxes, they are absolutely correct. Both federal and state governments try to influence our behavior by levying or reducing taxes. If the government wants to promote something, it gives you tax breaks if you do it. If the government wants to discourage something, it loads the product or service up with taxes.

If you have filled up your car at the pump in the last week, you know gas prices are out of control. Despite our wailing, they politicians really cannot do that much since we are dependent on foreign oil sources. They have, however, taken one long-term approach by promoting the purchase of hybrid vehicles.

Prior to 2006, the government provided all taxpayers that purchased a new hybrid with a healthy $2,000 tax deduction. With the recent passage of the Bush Energy Act, the government has made it foolish NOT to purchase a hybrid. It did this by changing the tax deduction into a tax credit.

The IRS is now allowed to set tax credit amounts applicable to hybrid purchases so long as the amount does not exceed $3,400. In regard to the 2007 Lexus GS 450 hybrid, it has just done so. If you purchase a new 2007 Lexus GS 450 hybrid after January 1, 2006, you can claim a tax credit of $1,550.

You may think $1,550 is nice, but not overly impressive. How wrong you are! Unlike a tax deduction, a tax credit is applied directly to the amount of taxes you owe. Assume you determine you owe $6,500 when you prepare your 2006 taxes next year. Instead of writing a check to the IRS, you will first deduct your tax credit from the amount you owe giving you a bill of 4,950. This dollar for dollar reduction in your tax liability is what makes tax credits so great.

As with all hybrid tax credits, they scale down as more cars are sold. Make sure to ask your accountant or dealer the current tax credit amount when you make your purchase.

As tax season draws irresistibly closer, the scam artists are polishing their latest techniques. This article should help you keep an eye out for these nasty individuals.

Tax Season – Time for Scams

In a particularly cheeky move, scam artists have started posing in on form or another as the IRS in an effort to get you to turn over social security numbers and such. Logically, this actually makes sense. Everyone is terrified by the IRS and dread be contacted by the Agency. Most of us would do anything to resolve any issue raised by an IRS Agent including sending them copies of credit card statements and providing crucial financial information over the phone. Put another way, this is the perfect scenario for a scam artists.

The goal of scam artists, of course, is to get private information they can use to open credit card accounts and so on. This is loosely known as phishing for the purpose of identity theft.

Phishing and identify theft can occur through practically any communication method. Here are some recent scams that were successful:

1. One group of scam artists started sending spam emails notifying taxpayers they were eligible for tax refunds. The scam worked because the emails were sent from IRS types of email accounts including the irs letters in the address. Taxpayers were then told to go to click through to a site where they could fill out a form and get their refund. Of course, the email address and web site were fakes. Nobody got a refund, but the scam artists received a bevy of social security numbers, credit card information and so on. In total, this scam occurred through 12 different web sites in 11 countries.

2. This one is a classic. Scam artists send bogus IRS letters and Form W-8BEN asking non-residents to provide personal information including bank account numbers, PINs, passport numbers and so on. Form W-8BEN is used by banks, not the IRS, to obtain information from non-residents who are opening bank accounts! Unfortunately, many non-residents fell for this scam and had their identities stolen.

There are a couple of guidelines you can use when dealing with IRS communications. First, the IRS never, ever sends email to taxpayers. NEVER! If you get an email communication, it is absolutely a scam. Delete it or send it to the IRS so they can take action.

If you receive mail communications from the IRS, call the agency to verify a letter was really sent to you. With phone call communications, get the persons name and call them back at the IRS. Both methods will stop scam artists in their tracks. Be skeptical of communications you receive from sources you are not expecting.

Finally, the IRS never asks a taxpayer for passwords or PIN numbers. If the agency desires to seize your bank account, they can just do it. They don’t need to take out $300 a day until your tax debt is collected!

Scam artists are highly creative people. If you have doubts about an communication of the IRS, pick up the phone and call the agency.

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