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Beware of the IRS “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams

Great news! After careful budget planning, you’ve determined a charitable donation is possible this year. Before deciding which charity proves worthy of your hard-earned money, beware of unscrupulous groups masquerading as “worthy” organizations.

For the past several years, fake charities made the list of IRS tax scams, referred to as the “Dirty Dozen.” These organizations exist for the sole purpose of taking money from unsuspecting contributors.

Many tax scams peak during the income tax filing season, but the most common time to encounter a for-profit scheme posing as a charity is shortly after a major disaster. Take time to research an organization thoroughly before giving, to ensure your money does more than line the pockets of scam artists.

The IRS suggests helpful tips before deciding where to make a charitable contribution:

  • Pay close attention to the name of the donation recipient. Some companies attempt to trick you by using a name similar to a well-known and respected organization.
    • Request an Employer Identification Number (EIN); and
    • Confirm their identity on the IRS’ list of legitimate charities.
  • Never provide personal information such as your Social Security number or passwords to anyone requesting a donation over the phone. Before sharing creditor banking information, confirm the legitimacy of the charity.
  • Never send cash. Writing a check or using a credit card provides you with automatic documentation of your gift in case receipts aren’t provided.
  • Scammers prey on concerns of the public. Fraudulent organizations tend to appear after a disaster purposely designed to take advantage of willing philanthropists, along with the victims themselves. They may pose as IRS agents to gather personal financial information, then steal the victims’ identities. If you’re a disaster victim call the IRS to ask about tax relief or disaster-related issues: 866-562-5227.

Be generous – but keep your wits about you! Before giving away your hard-earned money, make sure your charity of choice didn’t make the IRS list of the “Dirty Dozen.” (

If you need assistance with your complex tax return or business accounting the seasoned professionals at Patrick & Raines CPAs can help. Contact us at or 904-396-5400.

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