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Comptroller Warns Taxpayers of New Estate Tax Scheme

Estate Tax scam

-Fraudulent Notices Aimed at Collecting Money from Estate Representatives-

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 30, 2013) - Comptroller Peter Franchot warned Marylanders today 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. A phone number linked to a voicemail box is listed on the letter for taxpayers to contact.

"I urge any taxpayer who receives a notice like this one or any correspondence that you are unsure of to contact my taxpayer service office immediately at 1-800-MD-TAXES or by email at taxhelp@comp.state.md.us."

The Comptroller has created a consumer protection guide designed to educate taxpayers on how to select a tax preparer, their rights and what they can expect when filing a return. Visit http://www.marylandtaxes.com/taxpayerrights/taxpayer-bill-of-rights_web.pdf for a copy of this guide.

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