By Fort Jackson Tax Assistance OfficeFebruary 17, 2016
Protecting Taxpayers from ID-Theft-Related Refund Fraud
The IRS is working diligently with state tax authorities and the tax industry to address tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. As part of the Security Summit effort, stronger protections for taxpayers and the nation's tax system have gone into effect for the 2016 tax filing season.
The new measures attack tax-related identity theft from multiple sides. Many changes will be invisible to taxpayers but help the IRS, states and the tax industry provide new protections. There will be new security requirements when you're preparing your taxes online, especially when you sign in to your tax software account, to better protect your tax software account and personal information.
Despite these security improvements to fight identity theft issues, the IRS will still process nine out of 10 federal refunds within 21 days. States have their own refund processing timeframes that may vary, and some states may make additional reviews to ensure refunds are being issued properly.
ID-Theft-Related Quick Tips
Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home. Make a copy of your Medicare card and black out all but the last four digits on the copy.
Make sure you know who is getting your personal or financial information. Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or know who you're dealing with. If a company that claims to have an account with you sends email asking for personal information, don't click on links in the email
Before you dispose of a computer, get rid of all the personal information it stores. Use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive. Before you dispose of a mobile device, check your owner's manual, the service provider's website, or the device manufacturer's website for information on how to delete information permanently, and how to save or transfer information to a new device.
Keep your browser secure. To guard your online transactions, use encryption software that scrambles information you send over the internet. A "lock" icon on the status bar of your internet browser means your information will be safe when it's transmitted. Look for the lock before you send personal or financial information online.
If you post too much information about yourself, an identity thief can find information about your life, use it to answer 'challenge' questions on your accounts, and get access to your money and personal information.
Assistance Filing the Tax Return
Well over 90 percent of all tax returns are prepared using tax return preparation software. This software generally includes tax law help along with reminders and prompts about tax breaks and responsibilities. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can also provide helpful information about the tax law.
The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before they file their return. This includes Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and for those claiming the premium tax credit, Form 1095-A from the Marketplace. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return later.
Here at Fort Jackson's Tax Center we have well trained personnel to assist with your simple returns. The tax center will be open 30 January 2016 and the hours are 0900 to 1700. If you would like to have your taxes prepared at the Tax Center, please call 751-JTAX (5829) to schedule an appointment. We are located at 4330 Magruder Avenue.