Fraud Associated With Electronic IRS Tax Returns

The IRS reported that the 2010 tax returns as being the most successful in terms of electronic filing. About 99 million taxpayers submitted their returns electronically, which accounted for 70% of taxpayers. The electronic tax returns have come a long way over the last 20 years. However, this impressive success of electronic tax returns has not come without major shortcomings. Over the past years, the IRS has discovered increasing fraud in the areas of identity theft and fraudulent electronic returns. Since with electronic returns, most of the processing and refunds release are done automatically, some fraudsters have successfully found loopholes in the system and have managed to file fake returns and claim fictitious refunds.

Case in Point – 5,108 Post-Mortem Identity Theft Scandal

In the recently concluded 2010 tax returns, some individuals made fraudulent returns for 5,108 individuals who had died between 2009 and 2010. The tax returns were all made from one Electronic Filing Identification Number. The preparer associated with this Identification Number was from Florida and he claimed that he had applied for the Electronic Filing Identification Number but had never used it or made any returns from it. Some bulk of the refunds were sent to another man in Florida with an account in BankAtlantic.

The tax returns that contained tax refunds totaling to $12.1 million were successfully processed and the tax refunds sent to various accounts as per the tax returns. On discovery of the fraud, the IRS attempted to recover the funds from the various accounts that they were distributed to. The government has filed a court case in the Southern District of Florida to recover $851,832 from 10 bank accounts in Bank of America and $760,035 from 3 accounts in JP Morgan Chase Bank that was seized by agents of the IRS in their bid to recover the fraudulent refunds released. According to the investigation reports, the refunds from the fraudulent returns were sent to 303 accounts in 9 different banks in America. The report did not disclose how much of the $12.1 million has been recovered so far, though much of the refunds have been recovered, especially from Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase.

The major question that remains unanswered is how one tax preparer with a single Electronic Filing Identification Number could make 5,108 fake tax returns of dead people with none of the fraud-detecting computerized screening e-filing programs identifying or blocking the returns. Apparently, the IRS has invested majorly on these advanced programs to detect fraud with electronic filing. Besides the program detection, another question being asked is why the IRS had not frozen the tax returns from the dead people noting that the Social Security Administration provides the IRS with a weekly list of people who have died so as to update its records. Even if tax returns are filed by the survivors of the dead, the least that could have been expected from the IRS is a more thorough scrutiny of the returns made for these dead people, as this was obviously a red flag area for fraud.

Other Cases

There have been many other fraud cases of different magnitudes and different nature associated with electronic return’s fraud. Cases of information theft and identity theft from the IRS online filing system and fraudulent registration, filing, and refunds claims have negatively impacted the electronic tax filing system. These cases have posed major doubts on the electronic tax returns and especially in its ability to identify and prosecute fraudulent returns. Therefore, even as the IRS and the general public at large celebrate the convenience associated with electronic returns, we cannot forget the troubles that can arise whenever man is replaced by machine.


Real Estate Career Opportunities – Are They Still Out There?

Are there real estate career opportunities out there with the current state of the economy? According to a National Association of Realtors statistic, more than 250,000 licensed agents have left the business in the last two years; a staggering number. But does this mean that people have stopped buying and selling real estate? You may be surprised at the overall status of the market and seize your opportunity to build a successful real estate career after hearing the following.

Yes, the market is not what it once was just a few years back, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t buying or selling. During the boom, it didn’t matter your status or income, you could buy a home with little or no trouble. Realtors didn’t have to do much but bump into someone, ask them if they wanted to buy or sell and write up the contract; they weren’t professionals, they were order takers. While many agents thrived in this environment, training and education were not the main focus for agents; frankly, you just didn’t need it.

As the mortgage crisis showed, not everyone that bought a home should have, so things tightened up to prevent the wrong people from getting into the game. Now, take a large number of the agents out there, ask them to help a seller with a short sale of their home or guide a buyer through the foreclosure process and they have no clue how to proceed. Obviously, these agents aren’t with the right real estate broker, getting the right agent training and eventually will become a statistic.

What may surprise you is more agents are doing better in today’s market than they did in the so-called boom. With fewer agents competing for business, the agents that are aligning themselves with the right company are getting the best tools to run their business and thrive. The business is still there, are you going to be the one that gets it? By knowing how to master the market of the moment, it doesn’t matter if it’s a recession, depression or a boom, you can grow your career. There are real estate career opportunities out there, you just have to look in the right place.


Affiliate Marketing For Non-Professionals

What is affiliate marketing, who should care, and what makes it possible? Business owners that have products to sell, add what’s called affiliate program scripts or software to their website server. An affiliate program is basically a server-side software that keeps track of affiliate sales and payments.

Affiliate programs therefore, allow business owners to sell more of their products using the help of affiliates. The program allows average people to join and get paid a percentage from their own work. Each member receives a special link that has a unique code. An affiliate promotes their affiliate link in all of their advertising and gets paid for sales made from their efforts.

Affiliate marketing is basically the same as any other type of Internet marketing, such as network marketing. Although, there may be slight differences in approach. You may find that cold calling prospects and face to face selling may be preferred in certain network marketing programs. Whereas, affiliate marketing hardly ever requires affiliates to approach people in order to sell products.

Affiliate marketing is unique in its approach, taking out the element of traditional face-to-face selling. That is why this method appeals to many people who have never had any previous sales training. Besides not needing to call people on the phone or meet them in person, affiliate marketing can be much cheaper to tryout than network marketing opportunities.

This method of marketing is also attractive to newbie’s because members can scale-up their sales once they feel more comfortable with their learned marketing skills. Once that has been achieved, they may go on to promote additional affiliate links that give them even more ways to make money.

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest programs to test out. However, it has a few drawbacks. Like network marketing opportunities, also called work at home opportunities, affiliate programs pay members a percentage of each sale. Some programs can pay as high as 75% of each sale. The tricky part is, the product might only cost $9.99. In order to make good money, the affiliate would need to sell a truck load.

There are several network marketing opportunities that pay higher percentages than affiliate programs. But the cost to operate the business would be much higher. Many network marketing programs (MLM) require members to pay for monthly volume of products in order to be eligible to get paid a commission.

While it’s true that affiliate programs may be the new persons, or non-professionals best friend, there’s only one way to cash in on a higher scale of profits online… creating their own products. That’s right! For those who can create and market their own products will have a better chance at striking it big online.

As for affiliate marketing for non-professionals… the basics of affiliate marketing is by far the best choice of a newbie. I suggest if starting from scratch, learn all of the basics along with how to effectively generate website traffic.

If you would like to learn more about Internet marketing, visit to download our free newbie’s marketing guide e-book.


Study Your Options On Student Loans

When you want to further your education by attending a college or university, there are numerous costs that need to be addressed. Included in these items are tuition, fees, books and incidental cost, and when you are away from home there is also room and board in the mix. The College Board says that the cost of college for this past year was an average of $11,000 for a two-year college and $14,000 for a four-year college. For private universities the costs were over double that amount just for one year. An increase is expected in these figures of 5-8% due to the rate of inflation. Scholarships and student loans are frequently one of the essential keys to guarantee a successful education. There are numerous places to find loans in order to help you get the education that you desire.

A very familiar way of acquiring funds needed for an education is through federal aid, which is a loan that is obtained through a government agency such as a Stafford Loan. There is more than $67 billion dollars available in loans through federal lending programs.

When you receive a government loan there are numerous things that must be done. A number of applications have to be filed, once done you will go through a process that will grant you a specified amount for the school year. In order to meet the criteria set for receiving financial aid you must have a high school diploma, be enrolled in college for a minimum amount of hours, maintain a certain grade point average and be a U.S. Citizen.

One of the government loans available is the Federal Stafford Loan. Once you qualify, there is a specified amount of money available for you. You will not have to start repaying this money for 6 months after you have left or graduated school. Another loan option is the subsidized loan. These are based on what the financial need of the student is. When a student is enrolled at least halftime in class and has a need for financial help, they automatically qualify for a subsidized loan. Then you have the unsubsidized loan, which is not dependent on financial need. This loan requires that the student or in most cases the parent to pay a specific amount of the loan within a certain amount of time.

There are also loans that you can get that are campus-based aid programs. These programs are sometimes grants given by the facility. These funds are received from federal funds, which have been given to the school, and they school can divide the money however they wish. Receiving this type of assistance qualifies you for work-study programs, where you have a job on campus. You could also qualify for a Federal Perkins Loan which is also dependent on what your needs are and how much the school has to give.

You can go online to the FAFSA website and apply for all the available government loans. For an application to be considered for the upcoming year, they must be in by the beginning of March.
Beginning this process will help you to find out which government loans will work for you. When there is a match for you, you will receive a letter informing you which loans are available to you and in what amounts. It is your choice which of the loans you accept, it can be none or all.

In addition to the government loans there are numerous private loans offered to student for which you can apply. In most cases, these loans will have a low starting interest rate, which can get higher later on. This is a way of obtaining any remaining money that you may need to pay for your education when there is not enough coming from a federal loan that you have applied.

Loans that you can obtain which are offered by the governments and private lenders are one of the ways available for you to attend the college or university of your dreams and get the education that you desire.