Don’t Let This April Become More Taxing Than It Has To!
Protection And Service – By The Winter Park Police Department
Time to sit down, pull out that box of receipts, and begin the daunting task of completing your tax return. If you are like a large group of the population, you will put off completing your taxes as long as possible. Although procrastination sounds good, it can have some devastating consequences. First and foremost, you may put it off so long that you find yourself in the eleventh hour looking for anything that can possibly be construed as a deduction. More importantly, according to the Internal Revenue Service, the longer you wait to submit your tax return, the more likely it is that you can become a victim of tax return fraud through tax-related identity theft.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware that this has happened until you file your return and discover that one has already been filed using your SSN. Or, the IRS may send you a letter saying they have identified a suspicious return using your SSN.
Knowing the waning signs will help you identify if you are victim and begin the steps to rectifying the situation. Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if you are contacted by the IRS or your tax professional/provider saying:
- More than one tax return was filed using your SSN.
- You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.
If you are a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission recommends these steps:
- File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit records: ◦Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 800-525-6285
◦Experian, www.Experian.com, 888-397-3742
◦TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 800-680-7289
- Contact your financial institutions, and close any financial or credit accounts opened without your permission or tampered with by identity thieves.
If your SSN is compromised and you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft, the IRS recommends these additional steps:
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your efiled return rejects because of a duplicate filing under your SSN or you are instructed to do so. Use a fillable form at IRS.gov, print, then attach the form to your return and mail according to instructions.
If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact us for specialized assistance at 1-800-908-4490. We have teams available to assist.by