Rangers’ mercurial captain set up the opener for Jamie Mackie, won a penalty for Heidar Helguson to tuck in number two and wrapped up the scoring himself with a stunning double.
A commanding victory for Neil Warnock’s table-toppers keeps some fresh air between themselves and the chasing pack and banished any post-Christmas blues following recent back-to-back defeats.
There was little in the way of festive cheer on display at Loftus Road, though, as a bad-tempered first half saw two straight red cards.
Clint Hill and Alan Tate were the recipients after the latter’s foul on Kyle Walker sparked a sudden outbreak of handbags.
But Rangers comfortably won the 10-a-side encounter to put another dent in Swansea’s promotion challenge – they have picked up just eight points from their last eight games.
The hosts went ahead against the run of play after 16 minutes with Taarabt the instigator, tiptoeing past a succession of Swansea challenges on his way to the edge of the penalty area.
And where, in recent matches, the Moroccan would have attempted to skip past a couple more for good measure, he instead squared the ball for Mackie who drilled a first-time shot past Dorus de Vries to end a 15-game goal drought.
The match exploded into controversy two minutes later when Walker’s marauding run was clumsily halted by Tate 20 yards out.
As players from both sides squared up, Tate and Hill’s tete-a-tete was a little too heated for referee Phil Crossley’s liking and both left-backs were sent packing.
The Swans attempted to hit back before half-time but Joe Allen blazed their best chance over.
As the second half got under way Taarabt twice almost conjured up a second goal, a blur of stepovers setting up Kaspars Gorkss and Mackie in quick succession only for De Vries to save both times.
But it was third time lucky on the hour as Taarabt charged into the area and drew a clumsy foul from Ashley Williams, allowing Helguson to dispatch the spot-kick for his eighth goal of the season.
Taarabt was not finished, though, and in the 70th minute he collected Helguson’s knock-down and hit a fierce drive under De Vries for number three.
And 10 minutes later, with Swansea by now sick of the sight of Rangers’ number seven, Taarabt jinked his way inside from the left touchline and unleashed a superb 20-yard curler which De Vries could only help into the net.
Taarabt trooped off to a deserved standing ovation as Rangers shrugged off their recent blip and proved they will take some catching in 2011.