IRS Issues Warning About Motor Fuel Excise Tax Credit Scam

The IRS has seen an increase in the promotion of filing certain refundable credits using Form 4136, Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels. In this scam, a third party convinces a taxpayer to fraudulently claim the credit with promises of a windfall refund. However, the promoters of this scam are focused on their own gain, taking advantage of the taxpayer with inflated fees, refund fraud and identity theft.

Improper credits continue to be an important area of focus for the IRS. The fuel tax credit is meant for off-highway business and farming use and, as such, is not available to most taxpayers. However, unscrupulous tax return preparers and promoters are enticing taxpayers to inflate their refunds by erroneously claiming the credit. Taxpayers contemplating participating in any questionable tax scheme such as this should be aware the IRS has increased its compliance efforts related to falsely claiming these credits. IRS processing systems, including new identity theft screening filters, are now stopping a significant number of suspicious fuel tax credit refund claims. Before taking the bait on a dubious credit claim, taxpayers should seek advice from a legitimate source. Returns filed by individuals and tax preparers who knowingly claim a credit to which they are not entitled may face fines and even be subject to federal criminal prosecution and imprisonment.