Scammers can use the sensitive personal information in your tax return to steal your identity and even take your tax refund. Here are some tips to minimize your risk:
- Make sure that anyone helping to prepare your taxes is trustworthy.
- File taxes early in the tax season to reduce the window of time in which a thief could fraudulently file under your Social Security number.
- If filing electronically, only submit forms through a secure Internet connection.
- If filing by mail, go to the post office directly to mail the envelope.
- Do not respond to email messages asking for your personal information that claim to be from the IRS. If the IRS needs to contact you, it will do so by mail.
An unexpected message from the IRS could be a tip off that an identity thief is misusing your Social Security number. Contact the IRS if you receive a notice that:
- More than one tax return was filed in your name
- IRS records show you were paid by an employer you don’t know
If you get such a message from the IRS or suspect that someone has stolen your Social Security number, call the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.
Learn more about protecting yourself from tax-related identity theft.
What is the threshold income requirement to file taxes?
Asked by iwasjustsayin on Tumblr.
The answer depends on your age and filing status — whether you are single, a head of household or married.
Table 1 from IRS Publication 501 (PDF) can help you determine if you need to file a 2012 tax return.
Sometimes it makes sense to file even if you don’t have to, and these questions can help you decide.
You’re not the only one waiting for your tax refund. Scammers are looking for it too. In fact, every year there are more and more scams designed to steal tax refunds.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says these kinds of thefts have increased substantially in the last few years. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of investigations opened by the IRS grew from 224 to 898, according to the latest figures.
Find out more about tax refund scams, how to protect yourself from identity theft and what to do if you are a victim.
It All Starts with Identity Theft
Tax refund thefts usually begin when someone steals your personal information, such as your Social Security number. This is called identity theft.
To get your information, scammers use a technique called phishing, where a scammer tries to fool you into revealing your personal data.
This is how it works:
- They send you fake e-mail messages or websites pretending to be someone they’re not, such as the IRS or the Social Security Administration.
- They ask you to provide your personal or financial information such as your Social Security number or your credit card numbers.
Once they have the information they need, they file your taxes in your name and wait until they get your refund.
How to Protect Yourself
This is what you can do to protect yourself from this scam:
- The IRS does not initiate contact via e-mail with issues regarding your tax return.
- Be careful with websites that pretend to be the IRS. The official IRS website is http://www.irs.gov/
- If somebody calls you and says they are an employee of the IRS, take down their employee identification number and call 1-800-829-1040 to make sure the call is legitimate.
- Do not provide your Social Security number or other personal information to anybody you consider suspicious.
What to Do If You Are a Victim
Many taxpayers find out they’ve are victims of tax refund scams when they get a letter from the IRS saying their taxes have been filed twice. If you get such a letter, contact the IRS immediately to try to correct the situation.
You can find out the status of your tax return by visiting the official IRS website. You will be asked to provide personal information such as your Social Security number and the amount of your expected tax return.
If you would like assistance or would like to report identity theft, contact the IRS or call 1-800-908-4490.
By now you should have received your Wage and Tax Statements, better known as W-2s, from your employer. You need a W-2 from each of your employers in order to file your 2012 tax returns, which must be filed by April 15th.
If you still haven’t received your W-2 from an employer, the IRS offers these tips on obtaining it before it is too late:
- First, contact your employer (or former employer) for your W-2. Confirm with them that they have your correct address.
- If your employer still does not send your W-2, you can contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Make sure to have all your personal information and documents on hand before calling, such as your social security number, your employer’s name, address and phone number, employment dates and more.
- Even if you are missing your W-2, you can still file your 2012 tax returns without one. You can file Form 4852, a substitute for the W-2. On this form you must estimate your income and withholding taxes. It may take longer for the IRS to process your return using this form.
Find the forms and information you need about W-2s.