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How To Avoid Tax Scams & Make The Most Of Credits

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It may be hard to believe, but April 15 will be here before we know it.

That, of course, is when taxes are due.

It’s this time of year that Lynda Mohs works 14 hour days, six days a week. She’s the owner of family-run Mohs Tax Service. Over the past four decades, she’s gotten to know the IRS pretty well.

“The IRS does not contact anybody by email. So if you get an email, you can be assured that that’s a scam,” Mohs said.

Any letter that asks for your social security number or bank account information is also likely a scam. No matter how often that comes up this time of year, Mohs says some people still fall victim.

The IRS won’t ask for your social security number, Mohs says, because they already have it.

“If you would get a phone call or an email that would say, you know, we need to verify some things, give us your social security number and your birth date — that is definitely a scam, and you do not give that information over the phone,” Mohs said.

But one thing you do want to do is make sure you know about all possible write-offs.

For parents, Mohs says there are a lot of education credits that are missed every year.

They can write off things like school supplies, tennis shoes for gym, calculators, musical instruments, and even private lessons if they help with school music or dance.

A private tutor also counts as a write-off, but is often missed by parents.

“They don’t think about that. They just think ‘No, I just wanted to get them to graduate. Whatever it took.’ But when you’ve spent that extra money for the tutoring, that counts,” Mohs said.

Mohs also said the safest and quickest way to file is electronically with direct deposit.

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