Recent IRS Phone Scam: How to Protect Yourself and Report Fraudulent Calls

In late July 2017, the United States Justice Department sentenced 21 conspirators of a large-scale IRS scam to prison, with sentences up to 20 years. This case is considered the nation’s largest multinational telephone fraud operation, causing 15,000 victims to collectively lose hundreds of millions of dollars.

IRS Phone Scam Based in India

From 2012 to 2016, scammers posed as IRS officials and targeted vulnerable Americans, including immigrants, with threats of arrest, deportation and similar actions if the victims did not immediately pay their debts or taxes using wire transfers or prepaid cards. The demanded payments were in thousands of dollars at a time. The prepaid cards included gift cards to major U.S. retailers that the victims paid for and then gave the card information to the callers.

When these calls came through, caller I.D. screens lit up with the words “U.S. Government.” The callers claimed to be officials from the IRS or from US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Justice Department said that victims’ information was obtained through “data brokers” and other sources.

The scammers called from centers based in India. The money was routed through these call centers, then sent back to the operation’s leaders positioned in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey and Texas.

How to Report IRS Scams

It’s important to know that the Internal Revenue Service does not call consumers to threaten legal action or harass them over debts. Additionally, the IRS does not demand immediate payment of debts using a specific method, like a prepaid card or wire transfer. Instead, the IRS will initially mail a bill to the taxpayer and will not threaten to get the police, immigration officers or other law enforcement involved.

If you receive a call from someone impersonating an IRS official, do not give out your personal information or make any payments. If you receive an email claiming to be sent from the IRS, do not reply to, open any attachments, or click any links within the email.

For further information on how to report an IRS scam, and more details on how to identify a scam, visit the IRS website.

Hire a trusted CPA for all tax services

It can be intimidating to deal with the IRS, whether it’s legit or a scam. Hiring a trusted CPA gets a third-party involved who understands the ins and outs of taxes, payment plans, and more communication with the IRS. Receive your free consultation with Watson CPA today, or call us at 317-848-9938 today to get started.

Bookkeeping vs. Accounting: What the Differences Mean For Your Small Business

Knowing the differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant is important to organize your small business’ finances. However, it's common for these two roles to be used interchangeably. Both professions are involved in a business’ finances, but they handle these records differently.

Understanding The Role of a Bookkeeper vs Accountant

A bookkeeper handles the ongoing financial records and transactions of a business. This data is then stored within the company’s general ledger account. A bookkeeper will process information like the business’ payables, receivables, payroll, sales and purchases. A bookkeeper needs to be comfortable using an accounting software, like QuickBooks, as well as be accurate and persistent in recording and entering data.

An accountant analyzes the data provided by the bookkeeper to prepare detailed financial statements and tax reports for the company. While an accountant is capable of performing bookkeeping duties, this role usually supervises the bookkeeper instead. An accountant can also be involved in creating the company’s budget alongside the company’s management and owners. Qualifications include receiving a four-year bachelor’s degree in accounting, as well as being organized, analytical and comfortable with math and technology.

What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

These roles are similar in that they both work with a company’s finances and transactions to generate reports based on the data. Additionally, they both need a basic foundation of accounting knowledge.

However, the difference between bookkeeping and accounting certifications is the required coursework. An accountant needs a bachelor’s degree in accounting, while a bookkeeper can take a course to develop a basic understanding of accounting to be qualified. In simple terms, a bookkeeper records the company’s financial transactions, and an accountant is qualified to handle the entire accounting process.

Why You Should Hire an Accountant for Your Small Business

If you’re seeking help with your small business accounting, you need an accountant to take care of your books so that you can focus on being a business owner. Not only can you hire an accountant for taxes, but also to generate an income statement and balance sheet, reconcile your bank account, and clean up your general ledger.

Additionally, a good accountant should schedule regular consultations with you, at least each month or once every month, to interpret and utilize the financial data processed. If your business is too small to establish an accounting department, you can hire an accountant from an outside firm that specializes in small business accounting.

Go One Step Further – Hire A Small Business CPA

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accountant who has completed further education, passed certain examinations, and met all other licensing requirements to receive a state’s certification. The license regulations for a CPA may slightly differ by state, but all CPAs need to pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Additionally, a CPA needs to renew his/her certification every two years.

While a CPA can perform the duties of an accountant as listed above, a CPA’s responsibilities go further than that. A CPA can prepare tax returns for individuals and businesses and sign tax returns. A CPA can also represent a taxpayer before the IRS in the case of an audit or similar situations.

Do you need a CPA? Contact Watson CPA today!

The benefit of hiring a small business CPA is that you only have one person to communicate with to discuss and sort out your business’ finances and transactions. Watson CPA offers all of the services of a bookkeeper, accountant and CPA. Small business owners in Carmel, Westfield and the surrounding Indianapolis area have trusted Watson CPA to take care of their business' accounting duties.

Get your free consultation with Watson CPA today to get your small business on track.

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