Follow these tips to help guard yourself against fraud this tax season.
File your taxes as soon as possible: Tax identity theft generally occurs when someone steals your personal information to file a tax return and fraudulently obtain your refund. The sooner you file, the less likely it is that someone can file on your behalf.
Choose a reputable tax preparer: If you use a tax preparer, make sure they have the credentials you’re looking for by visiting the IRS’ Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers or by confirming a Certified Public Accountant’s credentials. Before having your tax return prepared, ask about all associated fees. Research a business with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau.
Protect your personal information: If you file your taxes online, make sure to use a secure internet connection. If you file by mail, take your completed return directly into the post office. Keep sensitive documents in a secure place. Shred any unneeded documents that contain your Social Security number or other sensitive information.
Consider the costs of any “fast” refunds: Offers for instant or “fast” refunds may be costly refund anticipation loans or refund anticipation checks. These products may involve substantial fees. Avoiding a refund anticipation loan may save you money without diminishing the amount of your refund. When filing your taxes electronically, you can have any refund directly deposited into your bank account, typically within a few weeks.
If you believe your personal information has been compromised: It is imperative that you take immediate action. Report the incident to law enforcement by filing a police report, and place a fraud alert on your credit report.
Tips to avoid scammers claiming to work for the IRS:
- The IRS will not initially contact you by phone call, text message, social media or e-mail to ask for your personal or financial information or to obtain payment for a tax bill. The government loves a paper trail. The IRS will write to you first, possibly multiple times.
- If you are unsure about a tax bill, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.The IRS will not give you an ultimatum to pay up immediately or demand that you wire money.
- The IRS also won’t call to congratulate you for getting a refund.
- The IRS will not demand that the taxpayer pay without the opportunity to question or appeal.
- The IRS will not threaten to send police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to arrest you.
- The IRS will not ask you to pay your debt using iTunes gift cards or any other type of gift or debit cards. They also will not ask you to pay with alternative currency, such as bitcoin.
- In the case of a personal visit from someone claiming to be from the IRS or other government entity, check for official credentials in the form of a pocket commission and HSPD-12 card. No one making a personal visit will demand immediate payment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the City of Dublin Tax team by clicking here.