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IRS Takes Action Against Fraudulent Claims

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is making significant strides in dealing with Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims, but Commissioner Danny Werfel has warned against dubious submissions and aggressive marketing tactics targeting the program.

At a recent roundtable session of tax professionals in Atlanta, Werfel revealed that the IRS has shifted its focus to intensify compliance efforts and address fraud in the ERC program after successfully clearing the backlog of valid claims. This comes as the agency noticed an alarming increase in questionable submissions, following misleading marketing from promoters urging businesses to apply for the credit.

The ERC, designed to help businesses during the pandemic, has been overshadowed by aggressive marketing practices. While legitimate businesses are eligible for the credit, the IRS is concerned about the growing number of false and misleading advertisements and scams taking advantage of taxpayers.

The IRS has urged businesses and tax-exempt organizations considering applying for the credit to carefully review the official requirements before applying. The period of eligibility for the credit covers March 13, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021, and businesses can generally continue to file claims until April 15, 2025. However, the IRS has been addressing concerns about the alarming amount of misleading marketing surrounding the credit.

The misleading marketing has led to problems for tax professionals and the IRS and increased the risk for businesses improperly claiming the credit. This situation hurts everyone involved except the promoters.

Werfel reminded tax professionals and businesses to be cautious and not fall for misleading ERC marketing tactics. Unsolicited calls, aggressive claims, and large upfront fees are common warning signs. The IRS encourages businesses to work with trusted tax professionals, request detailed eligibility worksheets, and apply only if they believe they legitimately qualify for the credit.

To report ERC abuse, individuals can submit Form 14242 to the IRS Lead Development Center. Properly claiming the ERC requires meeting specific eligibility requirements, including sustaining a partial or full suspension of operations or experiencing a significant decline in gross receipts during the eligible periods. The IRS is committed to cracking down on fraudulent claims, protecting businesses from potential scams, and ensuring that legitimate businesses receive the credit they are entitled to under the law.

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