Now that 2019 is in full swing and you have likely started preparing your 2018 income tax return, it is wise to review common tax-related identity theft scams. In fact, Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Here is what you should know about this kind of identity theft before starting your tax return preparation.
What Is Tax Identity Theft?
Tax identity theft occurs when scammers use Social Security numbers other than their own to get a tax refund or secure a job. People typically learn they have been the target of tax-related identity theft through correspondence with the IRS. After filing an income tax return, for example, the IRS may inform them that they received wages from an employer whom they never actually worked for or that a tax return was already filed—and a refund already issued—on their behalf.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from identity theft around this time of year is by starting tax return preparation early. Once you file a return, scammers will be unable to file a fake one for that same year in your name. It is also important to remember that the IRS will never initiate contact via e-mail. Therefore, you should not respond to any electronic correspondence requesting personal or financial information on behalf of the IRS. Keep in mind that you will not have to complete a special form to obtain a refund after filing, either. If you receive a letter or e-mail instructing you to do so in order to secure a refund, it is not legitimate. You can read more about this and other tax scams on the IRS website.
If you need help with tax return preparation for 2018—or any other year—turn to the knowledgeable accountants at Gillette & Associates LLC CPA in La Crosse, WI. For more than two decades, this firm has been helping both individuals and businesses take control of their finances. In addition to tax return preparation, their comprehensive services include bookkeeping, payroll administration, IRS representation, and financial forecasting. To see what they can do for you or your company, check out their website. To schedule a meeting, call (608) 784-8355.