The IRS Dirty Dozen List is Suspiciously Familiar

Wouldn’t David Letterman’s credibility be questioned if he reused the same Top Ten List each night but changed the order of the list?  That’s what the IRS is doing with its “Dirty Dozen” list.  It’s basically the same thing year after year — a stern warning from the Commish about not looking for tax relief amid tax scams, followed by the same 12 scams rearranged in a different order.  Presumably the list is arranged in a logical order with the most common scams at the top.  But is the order of the list based on empirical data, or is it just anecdotal?  Who knows?

This year the obligatory stern warning went something like this:

Taxpayers should be careful and avoid falling into a trap with the Dirty Dozen. Scam artists will tempt people in-person, on-line and by e-mail with misleading promises about lost refunds and free money. Don’t be fooled by these scams.

~ IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman

And the top three scam were . . .

  1. Identity Theft
  2. Phishing
  3. Return Preparer Fraud

Illegal offshore bank accounts was a close 4th on this year’s list, which is not a surprise given how aggressively the IRS has worked shut them down. I don’t mean to make light of tax scams; they are real, and we should definitely stay vigilant. I am just amused by IRS gimmicks, and this looks like another one.