IRS warns of tax scheme, promising 'free money' - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

IRS warns of tax scheme, promising 'free money'


Senior citizens across East Texas need to be aware of a tax scheme that could be heading our way.

According to the IRS, the scheme involves trying to convince people that they are eligible to some extra tax refunds.

"They are really good at what they do, and they know how to gain your trust," Mechele Mills with the Better Business Bureau in Tyler said.

Through, fliers, e-mails, and in person, the scheme reportedly look for people interested in making extra money and who are easily trusting.

"Your more likely to let your defenses down and believe whatever this person is trying to sell to you," Mills said.

According to the IRS, these schemers take a fee in exchange for bogus promises of refunds based on college credit, even if the taxpayer hasn't attended college in decades.

"The American Opportunity Credit wasn't even available, until 2009," says Debbie Fuller with H&R Block in Tyler.

Fuller said the 2011 refund only works if you were enrolled in a qualified education institution in the last year.

"That means that they could get anywhere from zero, up to a thousand dollars based off of how much they say they paid in tuition and fees," says Fuller.

But if you haven't been to school in decades, which is who the people behind the scheme are targeting, than you could end up paying a lot of extra fees.

"Once they start explaining about how far long that was many years ago, than of course it's going to be disallowed and there's going to be money that the IRS require they pay back, and by then there's going to be penalties and interest as well," Fuller said.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit wasn't available before 2009, so if you went to school before then, beware of phony tax refund offers.

To avoid the scam, the IRS says you should beware of homemade flyers and brochures, or anything that offers free money with no documentation required.

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