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What you should know about identity theft and tax fraud

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Beth WilliamsThe latest General Accounting Office (GAO) report states that the IRS paid over $5.8 billion in fraudulent returns in 2013 alone!

Even though the IRS does have ways of verifying tax returns and Social Security numbers, they still can’t stop every person who wants to file a fraudulent return or steal a tax I.D. number from doing so.

The IRS monitors the rise of fraudulent filings and is trying to curb it by monitoring Internet “IP” addresses where multiple returns are filed and recording the amount of time it takes to fill out each return online. The IRS is also providing more protection with a taxpayer personal pin number, known as an “IP PIN”—or an identity protection pin.

There are more things you can do to protect yourself. Here’s some helpful information to safeguard you against many of the scams being committed out there:

  • Phone calls, text messages, and emails claiming to be from the IRS are scams. The IRS will only communicate officially through the post.
  • Regard all communications (including letters with IRS letterhead) as potential scams. Even though such letters are probably official, don’t automatically assume they are.
  • Other common problem areas are identity theft, return preparer fraud, and inflated refund claims. Taxpayers should be careful about whom they give their Social Security number to, and about whom they trust to do their returns. Anyone who promises inflated refunds should most likely not be trusted with filing taxes.
  • Don’t act impulsively or in a state of fear.  Think before taking any action and ask a trusted tax professional for a second opinion. Before confiding in one, find out first if they are certified CPAs. Also, do research on their reputation in your community to see if they have prepared tax returns the proper way in the past.

If you’re looking for a trusted tax professional to give you sound advice and prepare your taxes the right way, call Williams & Kunkel CPAs, LLP today at 972-446-1040. You can also visit them online at GetMyTaxesDone.com.

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