For taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service is the bad guy in most situations. It is the agency that issues audits that can result in notices of back taxes, penalties and other tax-related issues. A tax attorney will always protect the interests of a taxpayer, but the truth is that there are instances in which the IRS does too.

One such instance is when the IRS releases their “Dirty Dozen” list of scams that target taxpayers, leading to very detrimental damage such as identity theft and tax return fraud. The list for 2013 was recently released, and taxpayers should pay something other than money. We are talking about a little of their attention.

Identity theft is the major danger for taxpayers. The IRS has its own system in place that helps prevent the payout of fraudulent refunds — $20 billion in 2012 alone. There are also things that taxpayers can do as extra precaution. The first is to contact the IRS when you know that your identity may have been compromised.

Second, is awareness. One of the major scams on the list is something called “Phishing.” The IRS will never solicit personal information through emails, websites or over the phone. Scammers will do this and then use the information to commit different kinds of theft. Another major problem is return preparer fraud. The IRS estimates that about 40 percent of preparers are not legitimate. One way to spot this is when a preparer doesn’t sign the return and provide their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Numbers.

For more information about taxpayer-targeted scams, taxpayers can contact an attorney who is bound under professional responsibility laws, understands the tax code through and through and is can help on the other end, when a tax dispute does arise.

Source: NJ Today, “IRS Details The Dirty Dozen Tax Scams For 2013,” March 26, 2013

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