State-Facilitated Retirement Plans Can Save Taxpayers $33 Billion and Reduce Dependence on Government Programs

U.S. taxpayers could save almost $33 billion over the next 15 years if every state established a state-facilitated retirement savings plan for small-business employees, according to a new report from the University of Maine. While most of the savings would come from reduced costs paid by the federal government, state taxpayers would save almost $7.8 billion. The savings reflect the lower cost for basic government benefits new retirees would otherwise need if they continue to be unable to save for …

Tax Email Scams Surge This Filing Season

Along with trying to scam the public in the nation’s reigning top ruse — phony phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or seizure of property unless immediate payment is made for alleged back taxes — IRS impostors are also breaking records on another fraudulent front this tax season. Bogus emails and text messages that phish for sensitive information or deliver computer malware have increased fourfold so far this year, reports the Internal Revenue Service. Designed to look like they’re from the …

Why Taxpayers Should Worry About Identity Theft

A month-long window of opportunity has opened up for scammers, and its timing is crucial for honest taxpayers. Here’s why: Identity theft. Documents that you need in order to file your 2015 tax returns should start arriving soon in your mailbox. Employers are required to mail W-2 and 1099 forms by Jan. 31; banks and brokerage firms may have later deadlines. With your Social Security number and other sensitive information, this paperwork provides identity thieves with enough details to open …

Need Cash? IRS Has $1 Billion in Unclaimed Refunds

Here’s a time you want to hear from the IRS. The agency has $1 billion in unclaimed refunds belonging to about 1 million people who didn’t file a 2011 tax return. The IRS holds the money for three years, after which it goes to the Treasury Department. Time is running out for 2011 refunds to be recovered by taxpayers. “Some people may not have filed because they didn’t make much money, but they may still be entitled to a refund,” IRS Commissioner John …

New IRS Message to Taxpayers: We’ve Got Your Back

The recently installed head of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, dropped in on members of the media the other day at the National Press Club in Washington. His message: The tax collection agency is out to restore public trust amid accusations the IRS acted inappropriately in reviewing tax-exempt status for certain public welfare groups, known as 501(c)(4) organizations. “Taxpayers need to be confident that the IRS will treat them fairly. It doesn’t make any difference who they are, what …

IRS Watchdog: Impostor Phone Scam Largest Ever

From its infancy several months ago, this was no typical telephone scam “phishing” for personal information. These crooks, posing as IRS agents, already had some of it – including the last four digits of the Social Security number of those whom they called. And perhaps that explains, at least in part, why it’s since grown to become the “the largest scam of its kind we have ever seen,” the IRS inspector general said Thursday. At least 20,000 taxpayers have been contacted …