Don’t get scammed: Officials warn of increase in tax and COVID-19 schemes

West Virginia

WASHINGTON (WOWK) — As the deadline to file federal taxes approaches during the coronavirus pandemic, federal and state officials warn Mountain State residents of a possible increase in tax and COVID-19 scams.

In the last few months, the IRS Criminal Investigation division has seen an increase in Economic Impact Payment and other financial schemes.

“Fraudsters never let an opportunity to scam and defraud go to waste. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart for the Southern District of West Virginia.

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. Unsolicited or phishing e-mails that appear to be from the IRS should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov.

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 Oct. 15.

“While the October extension provides additional time to file your tax return – it is not an extension to pay any taxes due”, said Kelly R. Jackson, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division for the Washington DC Field Office.

Those who currently face financial hardships have several options available to them.

“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,” Jackson said.

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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