It’s that time of year again when we all sit down with sweaty brows and grunt, curse, and shake our fists at Uncle Sam as we file our taxes. Figuring how much you’ll get back, or gritting your teeth, hoping that you don’t owe anything extra, is bad enough. Add to all that anxiety the fact that you have to deal with tax scams too and it’s no wonder that psychiatric hospitals don’t fill up starting January first.
We’re no stranger to tax scams because we know how they can affect your taxes. Just imagine knowing you should be getting a sizeable refund only to discover that someone else has already filed your taxes and got the money instead.
Well, the scammers never sleep. But neither do we! Make sure you protect yourself by being on the lookout for these tax scamming techniques that will continue to be depressingly common in 2018.
Got an email from the IRS? Need to follow that link to input your personal information and resolve the problem?!
A scammer is phishing for your information. The IRS will never contact you by email.
Have you received a call from the IRS? Need to provide your personal information over the phone in order to resolve the problem?!
You see where I’m going with this.
The IRS will never call you. The only way the IRS will contact you is through the mail. That’s right. Regular old paper mail. If you don’t receive a letter in the mail or you haven’t talked directly with your local IRS agency, ignore it.
There’s way too much to say about this topic to list it all here. That’s why we have an identity theft blog dedicated to discussing it! But, it’s worth mentioning here because it can greatly affect your taxes.
What we’re mainly talking about is the use of your Social Security number, as that’s the way you file your taxes every year.
When it comes to your Social Security number, there are a few tips you should follow:
- Never give out your Social Security number to an unsolicited caller or emailer
- Shred documents that include your Social Security number
- Do not carry your Social Security card around with you
You can find additional tips for keeping your Social Security number secure. If your card has been lost or stolen, make sure you know what to do.
Choose your tax preparer wisely
Shady tax return preparers are out there. They can easily perpetrate refund fraud or steal your Social Security number. When choosing your preparer, avoid shops that only appear during tax season, ask for referrals from friends and family, and look for a preparer who has years of experience.
Scammers will stop at nothing. Fake charities are proof of that.
Not only will a fake charity take off with your money, when you go to deduct your donation at tax time, you will discover that you can’t. Or worse, you deduct the money only to learn the full amount, plus interest, has to be repaid to the IRS. Not only did your money go to an unworthy cause, you don’t reap the benefits of donating either.
The IRS can help you figure out if that charity is a scam before it affects your pocketbook and your taxes.
Don’t scam yourself
Yup, you read me right. Some people try to scam the IRS by making excessive claims on business credits, padding deductions, or falsifying income. You will only end up scamming yourself. Make sure you file your return as accurately as possible now so the IRS doesn’t come after you later.
Unfortunately, as you can see, protecting your taxes means year-round diligence and honesty. But don’t worry. Most of the time, when you are mindful of the tips on this list, your taxes will work out fine. Minus the fact that you have to pay them in the first place.
Good luck and godspeed filing your tax return this year from the InHome team!