NEW YORK, April 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Coronavirus has seen an epic increase in fraudulent tax refund claims from the IRS according to a report by the Enrolled Agents and accountants Bambridge Accountants New York.
· $135 million in fraudulent refunds identified for the first two months of 2020, compared to $15 million in the same period for 2019 (increase of $120 million, 760%)
· 751% increase in fraudulent returns identified by the IRS in the first two months of 2020 compared to 2019 (30,038 returns identified in 2020, 3,529 in 2019)
· 924% increase in fraudulent returns identified and stopped by the IRS in the first two months of 2020 compared to 2019 (29,634 returns stopped in 2020, 2,895 in 2019)
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has published interim results for the 2020 filing season, comparing the first two months of 2020 to the same period in 2019.
The results show a huge increase in the number of fraudulent returns being submitted (751%) and the amount of fraudulent refunds trying to be claimed from the IRS (760%).
TIGTA again issued guidance on April 20, 2020 warning U.S. taxpayers to be on the lookout for coronavirus related scams. Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS will not call, text or email to request bank or other financial details to process the $1,200 stimulus payments (officially called the Economic Impact Payment).
The Secret Service is working with the U.S. Treasury to protect refunds and prevent fraudulent stimulus payments. In a press release this week, the Secret Service provides tips on how citizens, retailers and financial institutions can protect themselves and identify any counterfeit paper checks for the stimulus payments.
The CARES Act provides for $1,200 payments to individuals earning less than $75,000 and an additional $500 per child. For those earning more than $75,000, a proportion of the payment will still be made up to an income threshold of $99,000.
Alistair Bambridge, partner at Bambridge Accountants New York, explains: "As the filing deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020, with these results only for the first 2 months of 2020, the $135 million may only be the tip of the iceberg.
"If you receive a call, text or email claiming to be from the IRS or another 'government agency' do not disclose your online banking username, password or personal details - immediately cut contact and make a report to TIGTA at tips.TIGTA.gov
"TIGTA calls the current level of identity theft for tax refunds an epidemic - coronavirus, with the stimulus payments, is going to add another level to that."
About Bambridge Accountants New York
Bambridge Accountants New York is a leading provider of award-winning, tax advice and tax preparation services to creatives and U.S. expats.
Founded in 2010 by Alistair Bambridge, the firm has clients worldwide with offices in London and New York.
IRS 2020 tax returns results
IRS 2020 tax returns results
SOURCE Bambridge Accountants New York