Government agencies are warning taxpayers about a "bogus" offer to calculate -- for a fee -- the amount they will receive in tax-refund checks.
Taxpayers in Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Missouri have reported receiving a postcard labeled "2001 Form 16-D: Taxpayer Refund Information Card." It asks them to send a $12.95 "processing fee" -- $2 extra for "rush service" -- to Revenue Resource Center in Boca Raton, Fla., to get information about how much their tax credit checks will be "and to assure proper delivery."
It includes in the fine print that the center is a "non-partisan bureaucratic agency and is not a division of the IRS or the Federal Government."
The paid service is unnecessary. The Internal Revenue Service will mail a free notice to millions of Americans by the end of the month telling them when to expect their checks and how much they'll receive.
"This scam is disturbing, and obviously we are concerned. Taxpayers do not need to pay to be told what their rebate will be," said Rob Nichols, spokesman for the Treasury Department. "They are preying upon unsuspecting taxpayers."
An IRS spokesman said the agency is looking into whether the mailings are illegal.
Taxpayers can call the IRS TeleTax system at 800-829-4477 or go to www.ustreas.gov on the Web (go to the red link at the bottom of the page) for answers to questions about the advance refunds.
"This entire system was set up to be automatic," IRS spokesman Frank Keith said.
The IRS will begin sending the checks July 23. Single taxpayers who paid federal income taxes for 2000 could receive as much as $300. Heads of households could get as much as $500, and married couples could receive as much as $600. Anyone who could have been claimed as a dependent on another person's 2000 tax return is ineligible for a refund.
The checks will be distributed based on Social Security numbers. Taxpayers with Social Security numbers ending in 00 through 09 will receive their checks July 23. Those with numbers ending in 10 through 19 will receive their refunds the week of July 30.
The refunds will continue to be mailed in numerical order until those with numbers ending in 90 through 99 receive their checks the week of Sept. 24, according to the IRS.
The Revenue Resource Center has no phone number listed in Boca Raton and isn't a registered company with the Florida secretary of state.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.