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Form 1099-OID Fraud

Oct. 10, 2008

The IRS cautions taxpayers to avoid getting caught up in a new tax fraud disguised as a debt payment option for credit cards or mortgage debt. The fraud is also marketed as a way to reduce taxes or pay outstanding tax liabilities. It involves the filing of Form 1099-OID, Original Issue Discount, and/or bogus financial instruments such as bonded promissory notes or sight drafts.

This fraud has evolved from an earlier frivolous argument that a “strawman” bank account has been created at the Treasury Department for each U.S. citizen, and that individuals could use such “strawman” accounts to pay debts and claim withholding credits.

The IRS addresses the “strawman” argument in Revenue Ruling 2005–21 and Revenue Ruling 2004-31, and discredits the use of this position for income tax purposes. Moreover, the courts that have reviewed the “strawman” argument and other similar arguments have found them frivolous.

For more information on frivolous schemes, see The Truth About Frivolous Arguments

The IRS Warns of Scam e-Mails or Phone Calls  

May 16, 2008

The IRS warns taxpayers to be on the alert for e-mails and phone calls they may receive which claim to come from the IRS or other federal agency and which mention their tax refund or economic stimulus payment. These are almost certainly a scam whose purpose is to obtain personal and financial information — such as name, Social Security number, bank account and credit card or even PIN numbers — from taxpayers which can be used by the scammers to commit identity theft. The e-mails and calls usually state that the IRS needs the information to process a refund or stimulus payment or deposit it into the taxpayer's bank account. The e-mails often contain links or attachments to what appears to be the IRS Web site or an IRS "refund application form." However genuine in appearance, these phonies are designed to elicit the information the scammers are looking for.

The IRS does not send taxpayers e-mails about their tax accounts. Additionally, the only way to get a tax refund or stimulus payment, or to arrange for a direct deposit, is to file a tax return.   

For more information on consumer scams, see Suspicious e-Mails and Identity Theft


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: December 17, 2008