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Feds Warn Taxpayers To Avoid Fraud Scams, Phishing Schemes As IRS Tax Deadline Looms

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert and Michael J. De Palma, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement today in an effort to remind taxpayers of the July 15 filing and payment deadline and warned against an increase in tax and COVID-19 scams.

Due to COVID-19, the original filing deadline and tax payment due date for 2019 was postponed from April 15 to July 15. Taxpayers filing Form 1040 series returns must file Form 4868 by July 15 to obtain the automatic extension to October 15.

Although the extension provides additional time to file the tax return – it is not an extension to pay any taxes due. For people facing hardships who cannot pay in full, including those affected by COVID-19, the IRS has several options available to help.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to visit IRS.gov as soon as possible to explore these options and avoid accruing interest and penalties after the July 15 deadline.

As the filing deadline approaches, taxpayers should beware of tax and COVID-19 related scams.

“Con artists and scammers use every opportunity to take advantage of innocent people. Everyone should take care to protect their personal information—especially during tax season—and to resist ‘to-good-to-be-true’ claims related to COVID-19 and Economic Payment scams,” said U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert. “We always encourage concerned citizens to contact local or federal law enforcement if they receive emails or phone calls which seem suspicious. If you see something, say something.”

De Palma agreed.

“Taxpayers should remain vigilant in the handling of their personal and financial information as criminals use this as an opportunity to take advantage of vulnerabilities,” said Michael J. De Palma Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in Florida. “IRS-CI will continue to pursue these crimes and the perpetrators will be brought to
justice.”

In the last few months, the IRS Criminal Investigation division (CI) has continued to see a tremendous increase in a variety of Economic Impact Payment scams and other financial schemes.

CI continues to work with its law enforcement partners to put a stop to these schemes and bring criminals to justice.

Taxpayers can report COVID-19 scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.

Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Unsolicited (phishing) e-mails that appear to be from the IRS should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov

For the most up-to-date information about the tax filing deadline and IRS impersonation scams, taxpayers can visit IRS.gov

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