IRS Issues 2010 List of "Dirty Dozen" Tax Scams

The IRS released its annual list of scams that taxpayers should watch out for. The IRS uses the list to alert taxpayers both to potential swindles as well as areas where the IRS is aware that taxpayers will try to cheat. The list, which the IRS dubs the “dirty dozen,” comprises:

  1. Dishonest return preparers;
  2. Abusive offshore transactions;
  3. Phishing schemes;
  4. False returns;
  5. Nontaxable Social Security benefits with excessive withholding;
  6. Improper charitable deductions;
  7. Frivolous arguments;
  8. Abusive retirement plans;
  9. Disguised corporate ownership;
  10. Zero wage returns;
  11. Illegitimate trusts; and
  12. Excessive fuel tax credits.

The 2010 list is the same as the 2009 list, although some of the descriptions of the items have changed. For example, taxpayers are now warned about phony Tweets under the “phishing” item.


In addition to alerting taxpayers, the IRS uses the list to promote awareness of various initiatives. In the “dishonest return preparers” item it discusses its plans for return preparer registration. In the “abusive offshore transaction” item, it talks about the recent voluntary disclosure program.


In its announcement, the IRS invites taxpayers to report suspected tax fraud using Form 3949-A, Information Referral, and alerts them to the existence of the IRS’ whistleblower program.



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