Friday, February 02, 2018

Guard your income tax refund now

Pencil with tax form on US dollarbills background The early bird may get your income tax refund.

There are identity thieves capable of locating your name and Social Security Number. From there, they can file a fake return using made-up amounts and happily collect your refund.

It’s that simple. And that’s one reason for filing your returns as early as possible – to beat the crooks to the punch. The IRS only accepts one tax return per SSN.

Following the 2017 Equifax data breach, 143 million names and SSNs are “out there.”

You may not learn a fake return has been filed until you try to e-file your return and it’s rejected as previously filed or an IRS letter arrives with the same message. There is information on other ways you may find out this bad news at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theftThe best methods for following up are also listed there.

For those who are not required to file a federal return, doing it anyway protects your address and other data from being changed in the IRS computer system.

Tax preparation assistance is available in every West Virginia county through VITA, AARP and senior center programs. Make your appointment early!

Other ways identity thieves may benefit from your SSN are applying for credit cards they won’t pay off or through getting a job using your SSN but ignoring the W-2 when they receive it. They won’t pay the taxes and the IRS will think you’re the crook.

Being proactive by learning more about identity theft, including tax-related identity theft, at https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/identity-protection is a crucial way to protect your future.

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