IRS

Thursday Open Thread: The Taxman Cometh - 2011 Tax Season for Individuals, Extended Filing Time Edition

The Taxman Cometh may be a pseudo-popular phrase based partly on the Eugene O'Neill play The Iceman Cometh, but it's a phrase that we hear pretty often around this time of year. For those currently crunching numbers and chasing down receipts, or digging through files for that lost or forgotten receipt in order to get their taxes together before midnight on Friday, there's a slight bit of good news: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the filing deadline to the 18th; check to see if your state has followed suit. You may be pleasantly surprised. (My state, MA, has extended the filing deadline for personal income tax to the 19th because the 18th is a holiday.)

Of course, none of that changes the fact that you do still need to file, and pay, on time.

Today is Thursday, 14 April 2011 - and this? This is an Open Thread.

 

Phishing, Taxes, The US Treasury and You

It's that time of the year, folks -- a swarm of emails have been coming out from spoofed addresses, claiming to be from the customer service section of Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (eftps.gov).

NOTE: The IRS never sends emails to taxpayers. Pass that tidbit on, and help take a bite out of cybercrime...

It starts off with the following:

__________
From: EFTPS Tax Payment [mailto:customers@eftps.gov]
Sent: today, this month, real recent time
To: yourbusinessname@yourbusinessurl.com
Subject: Your Federal Tax Payment has been rejected. Report ID: xxxxxxxx (some numbers, sometimes sequential if from the same spammer/phisher/cyber-criminal/needle-dicked bugfvcker)

Your Federal Tax Payment ID: 012345678 has been rejected.

Return Reason Code R21 - The identification number used in the Company Identification Field is not valid.

Please, check the information and refer to Code R21 to get details about your company payment in transaction contacts section: http://eftps.gov/R21

In other way forward information to your accountant adviser.

EFTPS: The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System
PLEASE NOTE: Your tax payment is due regardless of EFTPS online
availability. In case of an emergency, you can always make your tax payment by calling the EFTPS.
__________

What changes, slightly, is the subject (sometimes the message has "URGENT" at the start of the subject, sometimes not), the content (sometimes the line "In other way forward information to your accountant adviser" is present, sometimes not). The URL "eftps.gov/R21" is not the actual URL that the message redirects you to -- that's just the URL label. The actual URL differs, usually directing people to a server in Russia through a variant of the domain name "eftpsxxxxx.com" where the "xxxx" is a series of numbers. A traceroute on the various URLs comes back with different domain hosts / admin information, but the email headers from any message you receive usually include an ip address (and sometimes a source node) for where the message may actually be from -- or at least one of the potential zombie machines it was sent from.

Should you receive any such emails (I've received about 12 so far over the past few days), there's a quick and easy way to report them to the IRS (see below). In general, any time you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the Treasury or US government, you can go to the US Treasury's website for contact information about how to report the phishing attempt, or -- if you've been a victim of a cybercrime, particularly if you've lost money or property -- you can go straight to the IC3 site and file a complaint (or 2, or 3 -- or 12 -- as the case may be).

For this particular email scam and for cases specifically involving the IRS and tax scams, go to the IRS page for more information. The IRS is already aware of this particular scam, but you should still report it and provide the details of the email source to help their cybercrime investigators track the perpetrators. Usually, a great and simple method to do this as well as report these types of fraud involves the following:

  1. View and copy the full header information of the email,
  2. Forward the email message to phishing@irs.gov, with a copy of the full header information pasted within

Easy-peasy.

Whatever you do, do not click on the links of any suspicious emails, even those purporting to be from the IRS or US Government, unless you can be sure that the link goes to where it says it is going.

More information is available about this at the IRS site on fraud/phishing/abuse (same IRS link as provided a few sentences ago).

Be careful out there, and remain ever-vigilant for those cyber-criminals who'll try to steal you blind almost as fast as the Bush/Cheney Administration and their Republican Congressional majority gutted the national treasury and destabilized our entire economy and infrastructure.

Domestic Terror Attack On IRS Office In Utah

Breaking news from Utah -- FBI and Hazmat teams respond to a Utah IRS office; decontamination showers deployed.

Full story HERE.

According to initial reports, this is in relation to some white powder mailed to the office.

Rich are Rich, and well, the States can't help the rest of us much

This morning's WSJ has a sobering page 1 headline: States Slammed by Tax Shortfalls. The article by Conor Dougherty, Amy Merrick and Anton Troianovski paints the bleaking picture:

The stumbling U.S. economy is forcing states to slash spending and cut jobs in order to close a projected $40 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year.

The article goes on to inform us that they, the powers that be, are worried [editorial comment duh] about inflation and cuts to services.

In my little town that has been happening for over a year, and from Defuning's comment in an earlier thread, it's happening all over.

Oh, but that's because we are not part of the top 1%. Those guys in the upper atmosphere are sucking up all the oxygen. According to another WSJ article, this time in yesterday's edition, entitled charmingly Richest See Income Share Rise by Jesse Drucker:

The richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the U.S. adjusted gross income in two decades as their average tax rate fell,the IRS said.

Well, Well, A Bright Shining Light in Banking Troubles

This is a Good one, and what with the way our so called Capitalist Economy has been running for years now, I'm gonna enjoy reading this list, Really Enjoy!

Super Rich Tax Cheats Outed by Bank Clerk
Technician in Liechtenstein Turns Over Names of Americans With Secret Bank Accounts

What we could do with a few more honest disgruntled bank employee's

Nick Benton's Corner: IRS Backs Off Probe Of Obama’s Church

Posted with permission of Nicholas Benton, owner/editor of the Falls Church News Press.

IRS Backs Off Probe Of Obama’s Church

by Nicholas F. Benton

Sen. Barack Obama’s religious denomination of choice, the progressive, 1.2-million-member United Church of Christ, announced yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service has backed away from its controversial scrutiny of the church body.

Taxing Our Patience Over Tax Privacy

originally posted 2008-02-20 04:21:28 - bumped cho

Via ThinkProgress:1

A new article from the Philadelphia Inquirer has blown open the startling plans of the IRS to allow tax preparers for the first time to sell the tax returns of their customers.

The proposal came in a painfully technical tax regulation, which until now had attracted only a dozen public comments since it was announced in December. The proposal calls itself “not a significant regulatory action.” But the proposal is indeed significant, both for tax privacy and more broadly.

Until now, tax preparers could not sell tax returns to outside parties. Period. If they got taxpayer consent, they could use it for marketing, but only within their own corporate family.

The new proposal allows the tax preparers –- from your local accountant to giants such as H&R Block –- to get your signature and then give or sell the full tax return to data brokers, to your boss, to anyone. And there are absolutely no restrictions about what recipients do with the returns. The rule lets recipients post the full return to the Internet if they want.

(Hat-tip to Sarabeth from Delphiforums.)

This is not the first time that the privacy of US Tax Returns was under assault by the Republicans.

Remember the little "problem" that came to light in November of 2004, when Senator Istook slipped a provision into an Emergency Appropriations Bill that granted the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees -- and their assistants -- access to taxpayer returns, without subjecting them to any of the rules governing privacy or holding them accountable for any misuse?2

This seems to be a growing concern for Republicans. Apparently, our privacy isn't worth preserving, and exposing us to a highly increased risk of identity theft is apparently worthwhile.