May 10, 2014
Don't let thieves commit tax fraud in your name
Recently we've heard from clients who received threatening calls from "agents" claiming to represent the IRS, demanding payment of overdue taxes. Others have shared stories of false tax returns filed with their Social Security or Federal Tax ID numbers, seeking bogus refunds. Both are examples of the rampant identity theft we hear about daily.
Here's what the IRS and other security experts recommend as best practices for safeguarding data:
*Never carry your Social Security card or documents with your SSN or TIN.
* Never give your SSN or TIN out via text or email, where identity thieves can copy it in transit.
* If you're asked to give information by phone, be absolutely sure who you're speaking with - and provide it only when necessary.
* Secure business and personal computers with firewalls and anti-spam / anti-virus software.
* Keep security software updated by applying patches immediately.
* Never keep or carry a written list of your passwords with you, or maintain a list on any computer. Use a password manager instead.
* Check your credit reports every 12 months for signs of unauthorized activities.
Spotting the signs
The IRS sends written notices of taxes due via U.S. Mail. So if someone calls or sends a letter claiming you owe back taxes but you've received no official notice, you may be dealing with fraud.
You should also suspect any electronic communication -- e-mail, text or social media post -- that asks for your private information. The IRS does not use e-communication to ask for your SSN, TIN or other private data.You can report any incident of attempted fraud by calling the IRS at 800-908-4490. You may be asked to file an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039.
Reporting a false return
Identity thieves typically file bogus returns early in the tax season. You may not know it's happened until you file and subsequently get a notice that two returns have been filed under the same SSN or TIN.If this happens to you, contact the IRS at 800-908-4490 and complete a Form 14039 to document your case.
Our Commitment to Data Security
At XPonent Group, our advanced systems are designed to keep your financial records safe and private. That's also why we don't email certain information directly to you, but instead ask you to access documents through our online portal. We know it's an extra step, but with identity fraud on the rise, we'd much rather be safe than sorry.
Did you file for an Extension?
Many thanks to ALL our personal tax clients - those who made the April 15th deadline and those who needed more time! If we filed an extension for you, please know that your return will be ready soon. Feel free to call or email us with any questions.
The combination of running a business and your life and preparing for tax time can drive some people into a slight panic. But no need to get stressed if you are prepared. Now is the time to start organizing all documents required to file your tax return.
Like the old paraphrased saying goes: In this world, two things are certain—death and taxes. The recent federal tax overhaul changed a lot of rules, so it’s as important as ever to understand your tax obligations, including those on Social Security benefits.
Unfortunately, cyber scammers never take a vacation. In fact, the IRS has issued a warning of a surge in fraudulent emails that bait potential phishing victims with fake tax transcripts. Links within these emails lead recipients to documents containing the well-known malware, Emotet.