Recent Tax Scams in Maryland and Virginia

The SALT Shaker

Tax-scamANNAPOLIS – Comptroller Peter Franchot warned Marylanders yesterday of an emerging scam involving fraudulent notices to estate tax filers from a company alleging to be a collections firm working for the agency.  The letters, from a business claiming to be based in Annapolis named IRFS, are being sent to personal representatives of estates. The notices indicate that the estate filed delinquently and owes unpaid tax and interest. The correspondence also provides payment coupons for the alleged liability. The Comptroller’s Office was notified about the scheme by an attorney representing an estate. “This scam is an example of unscrupulous individuals preying on people when they are most vulnerable, after the death of a loved one,” said Comptroller Franchot. “The Comptroller’s Office does not use outside collections agencies for settling estate tax liabilities.” The fraudulent notices also advise the representative to obtain a loan or other financing to pay off the outstanding balance or a lien will be placed on the taxpayer’s bank account as well as garnishment of wages.

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Taxation has been alerted to a phone scam related to the new Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card. The Department has received reports of phone calls being made to individuals, telling them that their “Way2Go prepaid MasterCard is locked for security reasons.”  The automated caller then tries to get the listener to divulge personal information.

This is a phone scam.  The Department never makes automated calls and never solicits personal information in this manner.  If you receive such a call, hang up immediately.  If the call is recorded as a voice mail, delete it.

The Department goes to great lengths to protect the confidentiality and privacy of taxpayer information.  This scam is not related in any way to the security of the new tax refund debit card or any information that taxpayers may submit to the Department.  The Department cautions individuals never to give personal information to anyone calling unless they can verify the source.

A division of Xerox Corp. administers the new Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card and refers to it as the “Way2Go” card. The Department is working with other government agencies, law enforcement, the debit card vendor, and the telephone companies involved to try and end the phone scam.  If you have questions, please contact the agency’s Customer Services Department at (804) 367-8031.

You may also contact the KatzAbosch State and Local Tax (SALT) Group if you have any questions regarding these tax scams or other SALT issues: 410-828-CPAs, or email abareham@katzabosch.com

The SALT (State and Local Tax) Shaker is prepared by Andy Bareham, Chair of the KatzAbosch SALT Group

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