The IRS is warning taxpayers about the emergence of a tax scheme related to the Telephone Excise Tax Refund that individuals were allowed to request on their 2006 tax returns.

IRS Spokeswoman Dee Harris said some unscrupulous tax-return preparers are advising their clients to file tax returns requesting much more in Telephone Excise Refunds than they're entitled to.

The problem with erroneous filings has been on the increase as other well-meaning individuals have perpetuated the problem by passing on this bad advice to friends and neighbors. Some of the erroneous refund requests appear to be for the entire amount of the phone bill, rather than just the 3 percent tax charged on long-distance services.

The IRS is urging taxpayers to follow procedures described on the IRS Web site at to make accurate requests for the one-time telephone excise tax refund. The service is taking steps to prevent abuse by tax preparers.

The IRS has monitored telephone excise tax refund requests for potential problems since taxpayers began submitting their 2006 tax returns in January 2007.

Taxpayers who request more of a refund than they are entitled to receive will have their refunds held and they may be subject to an audit.

If you think you have been a victim of a tax scam, you should immediately:

  • File an amended tax return to reverse each false return filed.
  • Be prepared to pay back any refund you received as a result of a false return, plus penalties and interest.
  • Return scam-related refund checks that you have not cashed to the IRS immediately.

    Harris said the IRS reminds all taxpayers to avoid any tax preparer who claims to know about "secret" tax breaks or loopholes.If you have any doubt as the legality of any tax deduction, credit or refund claim, contact the IRS before you use it. Knowingly filing a false federal tax return can lead to civil penalties or, in some cases, to criminal charges.