Tax Tips
Beware tax scams

By Howard Abrams, PBS Tax & Bookkeeping

I received an email from the IRS and responded with information, including my Social Security number, as requested. Unknown to me, the email contained a virus. Many dollars later, I had the virus deleted from my computer, but since learned that I had to protect myself against identity theft. Would the IRS ever send a letter via email?

The short answer is no. Recently, scams involving email and texting have surged. Any emails or texts asking about refunds, tax filing status, transcripts or personal information are scams. The IRS will not do that. If they need to contact you, it will be in the form of a letter. You can verify the authenticity of the letter by calling the IRS. Even tax professionals have been targeted.

Alert: The flip side is that taxpayers are trying to scam the IRS. The IRS is receiving claims made by some truckers for the Fuel Tax Credit that are unreasonable. You must use fuel off-highway to be eligible for the credit. Truckers who claim the credit without having any off-highway fuel expense or to increase the number of off-highway fuel gallons claimed can be subject to as much as a $5,000 penalty.

I'm tired of paying state income tax along with my federal. What are the most favorable tax states?

Great question. Because you are an over-the-road trucker, you can live almost anywhere without changing jobs. Since you and your wife own a home, you will have to do some research. What may be an income tax-free state may not be a good state for the homeowner because of high property taxes. For someone who is single and rents, you don't have many restrictions.

Tax factors to consider would include:

  • Social Security
  • Retirement income
  • Military pay
  • Fuel tax
  • Licenses (tags)

Other factors:

  • Housing costs
  • Schools
  • Crime
  • Air quality, etc.

The tax-free states are as follows: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. New Hampshire and Tennessee are also income-tax free, but residents pay tax on dividend and other investment income.

The more expensive tax states in our opinion are California, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

We suggest you research the best and more expensive tax states, including the plus and minuses for each. Start your research at BankRate.com/BestTax States. LL

This article has been presented by PBS Tax & Bookkeeping Service, a company which has been providing income tax and bookkeeping services to the trucking industry for over a quarter century. If you would like further information, please contact us at 800-697-5153. Visit our website at www.pbstax.com.

Everyone's financial situation is different. This article does not give and is not intended to give specific accounting and/or tax advice. Please consult with your own tax or accounting professional.