Consumer Alert: Rochester-area business owners are getting scam letters that look like tax forms

Consumer Alert: Scam Letter Targets Business Owners

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – There’s a scam landing in the mailboxes of small business owners across our area. It looks just like an official tax form from the IRS. A small business owner got this one of the letters in the mail and immediately recognized that it’s a scam. I’m sharing it with you because there are great lessons for us in recognizing a scam.

First let me give you some background. Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act in 2021. Part of that act requires businesses to file beneficial owner information. A beneficial owner is anyone who has substantial control of a business like the president, CEO or CFO or owns 25% or more of the business. And every business in the country has to do it, from corporate giants to mom and pop coffee shops. The deadline to file is January 1 of next year.

You can file your benefits owner information online at this website. It’s free and relatively easy.

But a scammer is sending out bogus letters in the mail that look like tax forms. The forms allegedly come from the Business Regulations Department.

There is no such government department. The letter says you must respond by next month. That’s not true. The government says it must be filed by January 1, 2025 if you opened your business before January 1, 2024. If you open a business after January 1, 2024, you have 90 days. The bogus letter also says there’s a filing fee of $117. There is no fee to file. And it looks like an IRS tax form with the number 4022 in the upper left-hand corner. The only form 4022 I could find is for Canadian tax filers. There is no such for U.S tax filers.

And here’s what’s really dangerous. When you fill out this form, the scammer has all he needs to open new lines of credit in the name of your business. So not only is he stealing your money but also your identity. I thought it important to share this with everyone during tax season because these kinds of scams aren’t just aimed at small business owners. I’ve seen these kinds of letters targeting folks filing your personal income tax as well.