|1040 Individual Tax Return, by 401kcalculator. Used under license CC BY-SA 2.0|
It's tax season. That means it is also tax fraud season.
Early in the year is prime time for tax-related scams targeting both consumers and businesses. I see these start to appear around late December, but tax-related scams tend to peak in March. It makes sense that consumer scams would peak as the April 15 filing deadline approaches - but it's rather illogical that this is also true for business compromise. Employers, charities, and financial institutions are generally required to provide tax documents to consumers by January 31, so a successful business-oriented scam in March is a bit of a head-scratcher. Nonetheless, that's what the data show.
What follow are explanations of some common tax-related threats this time of year, along with tips to protect yourself.