IRS Warns of Tax Scam Targeting Wisconsin Residents

Aug. 25, 2011

MILWAUKEE – The Internal Revenue Service is warning of a scam in Wisconsin that promises a tax refund or rebate based on Social Security benefits. The scam is prevalent across parts of the Midwest and South, including Wisconsin.


“We are seeing the scam grow particularly in the Milwaukee and Racine areas, but it is present in other parts of the state as well,” explained IRS spokesperson Christopher Miller. “The scam encourages people to file tax returns, for a fee, to get a refund, rebate or stimulus check based on withholding from Social Security benefits. The problem is that the withholding never took place, and is therefore false, and the refund is neither allowed nor legitimate.”


The scam targets people who aren’t normally required to file tax returns, including seniors and low income individuals. Flyers and advertisements for “free money” from the IRS, suggesting that the taxpayer can file a return and get a refund with little or no documentation, have been appearing in community churches and senior centers around the country. These schemes are often spread by word of mouth among unsuspecting and well-intentioned people telling their friends and relatives.


People are being victimized because they end up paying the scammer a fee to prepare the returns, only to find out their claims are rejected or they have to return the money to the IRS, plus potential penalties and interest.


“That’s why it’s important to make sure your family and friends are aware of the scam, so that innocent people don’t fall victim to it. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, “said Miller.


In general, the IRS pursues enforcement actions against those who promote schemes or entice others to violate the law. The penalty for filing fraudulent returns with the IRS can be up to $5,000. The IRS pursues the organizers of scams and can recommend criminal prosecution.


“At the IRS, protecting taxpayer money is a matter we take extremely seriously,” said Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. “An integral part of the agency’s mission involves detecting and catching fraudulent tax refund claims. The object of these schemes is to defraud the government and the taxpaying public."


The IRS says taxpayers should be wary of any of the following:


• Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on excess or withheld Social Security benefits.

• Claims that Treasury Form 1080 can be used to transfer funds from the Social Security Administration to the IRS enabling a payout from the IRS.

• Unfamiliar for-profit tax services teaming up with local churches.

• Home-made flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility.

• Offers of free money with no documentation required.

• Promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns.”

• Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or Recovery Rebate Credit.

• Advice on using the Earned Income Tax Claims based on exaggerated reports of self-employment income.

• In some cases non-existent Social Security refunds or rebates have been the bait used by the con artists. In other situations, taxpayers deserve the tax credits they are promised but the preparer uses fictitious or inflated information on the return which results in a fraudulent return.


Anyone with questions about a tax credit or program should visit, call the IRS toll-free number at 800-829-1040 or visit a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.


This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Brookfield Academy: Dec. 3, 2015 12:27 PM

» Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players 12:10 PM

» Swanson Elementary Cub Scouts to collect donations for seventh annual Ben Levie Toy Drive 10:11 AM

» SPORTS NOTES NOV. 19 11/25

» Glacier girls hockey to return eight players 11/25

» SCORECARD: Elmbrook Swim Club 11/25

» Brookfield/Catholic Memorial boys hockey team co-op begins fourth season 11/25

» Brookfield East has surprising gridiron season 11/25

» Brookfield panel recommends approval of public assistance for Milwaukee Tool expansion 11/24

» Brookfield Central's Kennedy proud of football team's effort in winning conference title 11/24

» Fairview South's annual Silent Auction and Craft Fair to raise funds for school iPads 11/24

» City of Brookfield to discuss potential financial aid for Milwaukee Tool expansion 11/24

» Sport Shorts: Nov. 26, 2015 11/24

» Oak Creek girls basketball team pulls away from Brookfield Central in second half 11/24

» Sports Notes: Nov. 26, 2015 11/24

» Brookfield East's Matt Szews named Volleyball Player of the Year, first-team all-state 11/24

» Brookfield Academy: Nov. 26, 2015 11/24

» Elm Grove library friends group kicks off holiday season with Lights of Love and tree lighting event 11/23

» Elm Grove board approves small levy increase 11/23

» School Notes: Nov. 26 11/23

» Brookfield Square to open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, 6 a.m. for Black Friday 11/23

» New Brookfield classes combine fitness for moms with their kids in strollers 11/23

» Elm Grove to vote on 2016 budget tonight 11/23

» Brookfield East girls basketball team starts out 2-0 11/23

» Brookfield East soccer team names three senior captains as MVPS 11/23

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss



2015 Writing Contest


(Click image for details)

Local Business Directory