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April 8, 2013

The Top 12 Tax Scams for 2013

What church leaders should watch out for this year.


The IRS recently released its annual list of the "dirty dozen" tax scams. Knowing about these scams can help church leaders avoid falling into these traps.

Identity theft and phishing are still the top two, and many of the same scams have stuck around and are important to review. The only scam to miss the transition from last year's list is the tenth-listed one, "Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions."

New to the list this year is "Impersonation of Charitable Organizations." It ranked sixth on the list. Often after disasters, scam artists will impersonate a charity to try to gain money or personal information. When working with or donating to a charity, church leaders should use recognized charities or conduct research beforehand.

The following is the IRS's dirty dozen list for 2013:

  • Identity Theft
  • Phishing
  • Return Preparer Fraud
  • Hiding Income Offshore
  • "Free Money" from the IRS & Tax Scams Involving Social Security
  • Impersonation of Charitable Organizations
  • False/Inflated Income and Expenses
  • False Form 1099 Refund Claims
  • Frivolous Arguments
  • Falsely Claiming Zero Wages
  • Disguised Corporate Ownership
  • Misuse of Trusts

The IRS lists more information on each scam on its website.

For information on how tax laws relate to pastors and churches, Richard Hammar's annual 2013 Church & Clergy Tax Guide is available at YourChurchResources.com.

Michelle Dowell is the editorial coordinator for the Church Law & Tax Group at Christianity Today.

Related Tags: disaster relief, IRS, risk management, scam, taxes

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