Scott Air Force Base News

E-Filing & protecting yourself against identity theft

As tax season progresses, it is important to keep in mind the various tools available to the public. One such tool provided by the IRS is E-Filing or electronic filing.

E-Filing carries a great number of benefits. For example, you’ll see your return much faster. The IRS processes e-filed returns faster and with fewer errors.

Moreover, clients can receive proof of receipt within 24 hours of sending the returns, rather than waiting weeks on end. Filers can also easily track the status of their return using “Where’s My Refund?” found at IRS.gov. E-Filing also has the added benefit of helping you protect yourself against identity fraud. If you e-file, you will quickly discover whether someone has already filed on your behalf.

There are various signs that can tip you off that you may be the victim of identity fraud. For instance, if you see an offset of your expected return or a business, for which you never worked, sends you a W-2 it may be a signal of fraud.

If you are a victim and experienced any monetary losses from a scam, report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. If you are still unsure whether or not the IRS has taken any action against you, the safest way to verify is to contact the IRS directly. A list of phone numbers can be found on their website.

Be aware that the risk of identity theft doesn’t stop after your file your return. In an increasingly common scheme, taxpayers are contacted through text, phone calls and emails. The message usually says something along the lines of, “we have important information in regards to your tax refund” or “contact us immediately about taxes you owe to the government.”

This is called phishing. It is a scam that uses email and/or websites to lure people into providing personal and financial information.

First of all, do not give them any information in any form. If it is an email, do not click the links; instead, delete the email. Report all unsolicited emails claiming to be the IRS to phishing@irs.gov. The IRS will only contact you via paper mail.

If you are a victim and experienced any monetary losses from a scam, report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. If you are still unsure whether or not the IRS has taken any action against you, the safest way to verify is to contact the IRS directly. A list of phone numbers can be found on their website.

Moreover, clients can receive proof of receipt within 24 hours of sending the returns, rather than waiting weeks on end. Filers can also easily track the status of their return using “Where’s My Refund?” found at IRS.gov. E-Filing also has the added benefit of helping you protect yourself against identity fraud. If you e-file, you will quickly discover whether someone has already filed on your behalf.

If you have received a written notice in the mail from the IRS stating your social security number may have been compromised, respond immediately by either calling the number listed or visit IDVerify.irs.gov.

Next, you will want to complete a hardcopy Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, to be mailed with your paper return. This form should also be completed if you discover a return was already filed with your SSN. For specialized assistance, contact (800) 908-4490 and the IRS will have teams available to assist you.

The bottom line is that e-file is still the safest and most accurate way to file your taxes. It is the method the IRS has created to protect you, your information, and your funds.

This article is intended to provide general information only and not legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding your specific situation, contact the legal office.

  Comments