Money Talks: Tax Hacks - Beware of Tax Scams

It's that time of year again - time to pull out the forms, receipts and calculator.

But this is also the time of year when scam artists are trying to use taxes to separate you from your hard-earned money.

For example, they'll go phishing for your personal info by sending you a fake IRS email. The IRS doesn't send emails at all, much less ones asking for your personal information.

And beware of accountants bearing gifts. They'll offer to use inflated numbers or fake information to get you a bigger refund - which they want part of.

We had a client who was audited and had returns that they had paid to have prepared, that were completely false, said CPA, Tom Sawyer.

And keep in mind that whoever prepares your tax return, you're the one who's going to sign it, and you're the one who's going to be responsible for it.

The temptation is great to inflate your retirement plan contributions or deflate your withdrawals to minimize your taxes. Resist that temptation: the IRS is looking for it.

Oh, and here's a good one: I've been doing these stories for more than 20 years, and every year someone insists income taxes are unconstitutional, so you don't have to pay them. I'd advice against embracing that logic.

Then there's false forms. Claiming deductions or credits you're not entitled to is fraud. It can land you in hot water, or even jail.

Bottom line? Always take every deduction you're entitled to. But there's a lot of temptation and misinformation around this time of year. So just play it safe. Want more information on how to reduce your taxes legally? Well I can help you with that. Just go to and do a search for "Tax Hacks 2013."

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