Revenooers Reiterate Tax Scam Warnings

All of a sudden, IRS has their hair on fire over the matter of tax scams.

On August 28, they issued another advisory on the matter, warning of “tax scams, frivolous claims and abusive schemes.”

How nice.

In their consumer alert, IRS warns folks about phony telephone callers, and convincing-sounding “con artists.”

In another self-aggrandizing announcement, Commish Koskinen (who we hear will again be testifying before Congress in a week or so about the latest embarrassing IRS revelations) notes, “These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls.  We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues.  The IRS respects taxpayer rights (Really? – ed) and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”

Any comments from the Tea Party on that point?

Any old fat way, IRS mentions five things that scammers do which IRS says they won’t:

  • Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

And in yet another Tax Court case, some aggrieved taxpayers were given the bad news that just because they lent some dough which later became uncollectible, they didn’t necessarily have a deductible loss for the full sum – no bad debt, theft, or investment loss.

The most common scenario in this sort of situation is that of a bloke who tries to claim an

ordinary (as opposed to the less valuable “capital”) loss.  As taxpayer Bunch was reminded in this case (TC Memo 2014-177), a lender has to be in the “business” of lending in order to get a fully deductible ordinary loss deduction.  A pretty strict standard – essentially, you have to be a bank or commercial lender, which the typical bloke is not.  Therefore, the typical deduction is that of a capital loss, limited to $3,000 per year if one has no capital gain income.

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your particular situation.

Jeff Quinn, the author if this column, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at jquinn@ashleyquinncpas.com, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at http://blog.nolo.com/taxes.

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