Joel Katz

Social Media Not a Good Place for Tax Advice

It’s tax day, and over the past few weeks, I’ve seen some interesting tax advice on TikTok, Facebook, and other platforms that looked inaccurate. Needless to say, social media is never a place to seek tax advice, tips, or hacks. Some of the crazy tax advice includes telling us to follow various schemes to increase our refund or avoid having to pay what we owe. Experts say this will do nothing but get you in trouble with the IRS, and nobody wants that. IRS Commissioner Warns About Bad Tax Advice and Scams The IRS warns people not to fall for these scams. Taxpayers who knowingly file fraudulent tax returns will face significant penalties. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel says, "Social media is an easy way for scammers and others to try encouraging people to pursue some really bad ideas, and that includes ways to magically increase your tax refund. There are many ways to get good tax information, including @irsnews on social media and from trusted tax professionals. But people should be careful with who they follow on social media for tax advice. Unlike hacks to fix a leaky kitchen sink or creative makeup tips, people shouldn’t rely on made-up ways on social media to patch up their tax return and boost their refund.” IRS is Aware of Bad Social Media Tax Advice Hashtags The IRS knows about filing season hashtags and social media topics that lead to bad tax advice. A couple of these include people trying to use legitimate tax forms for the wrong reason. Fraudulent Tax Advice on Form W-2 There’s a scheme circulating on social media that encourages people to use tax software to fill out Form W-2, Wage, and Tax Statements manually and include false income information. The scam artist suggests people make up large income and withholding figures, and the employer it's coming from. Scam artists then instruct people to file the tax return electronically in hopes of getting a big refund because of the large amount of withholding. This may sound like an obvious mistake to most of us, but some people have no idea until it’s too late. There are two other types of the W-2 scheme. Fraudulent Form 7202: This involves encouraging people to use Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals, to claim a credit based on income earned as an employee and not self-employed. These credits were available for 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic, but are not available for 2023 tax returns. Fraudulent Schedule H: This tells people to invent fictional household employees and then file Schedule H or Form 1040, Household Employment Taxes, to claim a refund based on false sick and family medical leave wages they never paid. The IRS looks for these scams and works with payroll companies, employers, and the Social Security Administration to verify tax information. How You Can Verify Tax Information The best place for taxpayers to learn how to use tax forms correctly on social media is to go to IRS.gov for the official IRS social media accounts. [select-listicle listicle_id="869972" syndication_name="tax-deductions-and-credits-that-could-save-you-big" description="yes"]

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