The Internal Revenue Service has released its annual "dirty dozen" list of top tax scams, highlighting schemes that have proliferated during the current tax season and detailing the ramp-up of its efforts to fight fraud.

At the top of the list is identity theft, an area where the agency has significantly increased enforcement during the 2013 tax season. In many cases, returns are filed and refunds  collected through fraudulent use legitimate taxpayers identity.

The IRS conducted a national sweep in January, resulting in 734 enforcement actions and nearly 300 indictments. The agency said it pursued 2,400 enforcement actions related to identity theft in its 2012 fiscal year, and prevented $20 billion in fraudulent refunds versus $14 billion in 2011.

Approximately 3,000 individuals were devoted to identity theft at the IRS at the end of 2012, roughly double the number at the end of 2011. Staff at the agency have received additional training to help individuals who suspect that they were victims, along with creation of a special section of its redesigned website, irs.gov.

Other high-profile concerns include phishing -- a computer crime that in this case involves emails falsely labeled as coming from the IRS -- and fraud by preparers.***

Santa Rosa-based accounting firm Dal Poggetto & Company has three new staff accountants from the Sonoma State University accounting program, with plans to hire a fourth after the completion of an internship at the firm.

Marielle Blais, Nicholas Byrd and Andrea Rodriguez, all recent graduates in business administration with an accounting concentration, joined the firm as staff accountants. Megan Hunter is expected to join in May.

Accounting graduates enjoy some of the best hiring rates among Sonoma State graduates, boosted by a robust extracurricular program, the Accounting Forum. The group is the largest academic club on the campus, and serves to connect those individuals with potential employers [see "Santa Rosa CPA publishes retirement guide," Sept. 10, 2012]. As many as 90 percent of graduates are able to find employment at a firm after graduation.

The firm also recently promoted Carine Arend to a senior manager in its tax department.***

[caption id="attachment_71957" align="alignright" width="160"] Dave Homan[/caption]

David Homan, MS, CFP, has joined Willow Creek Financial Services, Inc. as a financial adviser. Mr. Homan was previously a senior wealth adviser with Private Ocean, a wealth management firm in San Rafael. He holds an master's degree in financial planning from Golden Gate University and a bachelor's degree in business from Chico State University. Mr. Homan is a long-time Sebastopol resident.***

The office of California State Controller John Chiang has created a day-to-day tally of income tax revenue as it is accounted for at the capitol.

More than $43.3 billion had been collected as of the end of March, up from $33.6 billion in the prior year. Last year, over 14 percent of total revenue was collected in the month of April....

Submit items for this column to Business Journal Staff Writer Eric Gneckow, eric.gneckow@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4259.