<p> April is almost here, and that can only mean one thing for folks in the United States: It&#39;s tax season.</p> <p> And for thieves, con men and tax evaders alike, it&#39;s high time for tax fraud.</p> <p> In an effort to curb some of this criminal activity, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week released its list of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2013.</p> <p> This annual list includes scams that can affect American taxpayers, and the IRS as well, at any time of year, but seem to grow more prevalent during tax filing season.</p> <p>Click "Next" above to get started.</p>

Identity theft to steal someone else&#39;s refund

<p> At the top of the IRS list is an age-old scam in which some unscrupulous person uses another individual&#39;s personal information to commit tax fraud.</p> <p> The IRS most commonly sees this scam performed by those who use a legitimate taxpayer&#39;s identity to file returns and claim refunds that don&#39;t belong to them. So keep your personal information safe.</p> <p> [<a href="">Tax-Day Identity Thefts Steals Thousands of Refunds Every Year</a>]</p>

Phishing scams using the IRS

<p> The phishing scam usually arrives in your inbox in the form of an unsolicited email message claiming to come from the IRS. Often, there&#39;s a link to a fake website that asks you for your personal information.</p> <p> The scammer then uses the information you provide to commit identity theft or financial fraud.</p> <p> Steer clear of such scams and rest assured that the IRS will never request sensitive data via email, text message or social-media sites.</p> <p> [<a href="">What Is Phishing and How Can I Fight It?</a>]</p>

Tax-preparer fraud

<p> Does your tax professional have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)? If not, he or she should.</p> <p> However, taxpayers are legally responsible for the information provided on their tax return, even if it&#39;s prepared by someone else. So make sure the person doing your taxes is someone you trust.</p> <p> [<a href="">Tax Time Is Prime Time for Computer Viruses</a>]</p>

Hiding income in other countries

<p> Just because your money&#39;s in a Swiss bank, that doesn&#39;t mean you don&#39;t have to pay taxes on it in the U.S.</p> <p> This method of tax evasion is particularly frowned upon by the IRS, which has collected $5.5 billion in back taxes through voluntary offshore-asset disclosure programs since 2009.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Tips for Staying Safe During Tax Season</a>]</p>

&#39;Free money&#39;/Social Security scams

<p> In case you haven&#39;t heard, there&#39;s no such thing as free money. Yet scams that convince those with little or no income to request &quot;free money&quot; from the government are prevalent in the U.S.</p> <p> In such cases, the scammer requests payment for the filing of a fraudulent tax return that will allow the victim to receive a refund from the IRS.</p> <p> Of course, that refund never comes, but the scammer still gets paid for his or her services.&nbsp;</p> <p> There are also similar scams involving Social Security, <a href="">which mostly affect senior citizens</a>. In these cases, scammers convince unsuspecting victims to hire them to help file returns for nonexistent rebates and refunds.&nbsp;</p> <p> [<a href="">Mitt Romney&#39;s Tax Returns &#39;Ransomed&#39; for One Million Dollars</a>]</p>

Fake charities

<p> One unscrupulous scam plays on the sympathy of those who wish to help people affected by natural disasters.</p> <p> A scammer, posing as a Good Samaritan or a representative of a known charity, collects personal information or money from those trying to help people in need. Some scammers even go after the victims of disasters themselves.</p> <p> &nbsp;In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, this con is especially prevalent in 2013.</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Catch Hurricane Sandy Scammers</a>]</p>

False income, false expenses

<p> If you didn&#39;t earn it, don&#39;t claim it. If you didn&#39;t buy it, the IRS won&#39;t either.</p> <p> People who claim more money than they actually made, or file more expenses than what actually had, could face serious repercussions.</p> <p> Trying to fool the government into sending you a bigger refund than you&#39;re due is not only illegal, it&#39;s also unlikely to go unnoticed, according to the IRS.&nbsp;</p> <p> [<a href="" target="_blank">10 Best Tax-Preparation Software</a>]</p>

&#39;Secret&#39; government bank accounts

<p> For some reason, con artists in recent years have made refund claims based on the idea that the federal government maintains secret bank accounts for U.S. citizens.</p> <p> The rumor is that withdrawals from these accounts can be made by filing a 1099-OID form &mdash; normally used to pay taxes on bond accruals &mdash; with the IRS.</p> <p> Needless to say, this convoluted scam, which sometimes goes hand in hand with notions that federal income taxes are unconstitutional, doesn&#39;t work.&nbsp;</p> <p> [<a href="">Tax-Time Virus Terrorizes the Web</a>]</p>

Frivolous arguments about why you shouldn&#39;t pay taxes

<p> Taxpayers in the U.S. have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court. But they don&#39;t have the right to come up with ridiculous arguments as to why they shouldn&#39;t have to pay their fair share of taxes.</p> <p> Claiming you&#39;re not technically a &quot;person&quot; as defined by the Internal Revenue Code won&#39;t work for you. And no, in this instance, you can&#39;t plead the Fifth Amendment.</p> <p> In fact, pursuing these claims might be more expensive than just paying up, as the IRS can fine individuals deemed to be delaying the tax collection process.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Tips to Safely File Taxes Online</a>]</p>

False claims of zero income

<p> File this scam under &quot;not going to happen.&quot; Filing a phony information return, usually a Form 4852 or &quot;corrected&quot; Form 1099, is sometimes used to fraudulently reduce taxable income to zero.</p> <p> But guess what? The IRS is hip to this trick, too.</p> <p> [<a href="" target="_blank">10 Best Accounting Software Products</a>]</p>

Disguised ownership

<p> In order to avoid paying all their taxes, some business owners obtain employer identification numbers and form corporations that obscure the true ownership of a business.</p> <p> The cheats then underreport income, make false claims or avoid filing returns altogether.&nbsp;</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Best Personal Finance Software Products</a>]</p>

Abuse of trusts

<p> Trusts, commonly defined as as property or funds held by one party for the benefit of another, provide a legitimate way for U.S. citizens to put money aside for posterity or for charitable donations without being unduly taxed.</p> <p> However, hiding assets that are eligible to be taxed in trust accounts is illegal. Taxpayers should only arrange such account with professionals they can trust.</p> <p> <em>Follow us <a href="">@TechNewsDaily</a>, on <a href="">Facebook</a>or on&nbsp;<a href="">Google+</a>.</em></p>

The IRS' Dirty Dozen Tax-Fraud Scams