Jesse Jones

Jesse Jones: How to spot, avoid, report this season’s most common tax scams

Some are new, some are tried and true - but right now tax scams are in full swing. Scammers are using the IRS as a shield to commit fraud.

In 2023 the IRS investigated 1,409 tax crimes, that’s $5.5 billion in tax fraud.

”It’s a problem and it’s one that we aggressively work to combat,” said Special Agent in Charge for the IRS’s Criminal Investigations Department, Adam Jobes.

He said in our state there’s a trend with preparers exploiting Washington’s lack of income tax.

“One thing we try to tie together is federal false filing with the state false filing,” he said. “We do see some high-dollar loss cases in terms of preparers, in terms of individual income tax liability.”

Ben Spradling of the Better Business Bureau said he is warning the public about another kind of tax fraud - charitable donations.

“We’ve been seeing a pattern of theft in association with charitable donations, and a lot of that might be coming to light right around this time of the year,” said Spradling.

The Better Business Bureau says you are especially susceptible if you’ve ever been the victim of a data breach.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

  • Hire a trusted preparer.
  • Never sign a blank return.
  • Sign up for an IRS account.
  • Obtain an ‘Individual Filing Number.’
  • File through the IRS portal.

And, don’t expect the IRS to excuse you - if things do go sideways.

“At the end of the day that is your return, and it is your personal responsibility,” said Special Agent in Charge Adam Jobes. “In some cases, there could be restitution ordered by the cover but generally, I wouldn’t wait on that promise.”