Four Tips to Protect You This Tax Season
Tax season is almost here. It’s time to get ready. Due to the spring shut-downs due to the coronavirus outbreak last spring , the deadline for 2019 was automatically extended. July 15th, 2020 gave everyone several extra months.
2020 Tax Returns Due 4/15/2021
However, this year we are back to the traditional schedule. Federal and state tax returns for 2020 are due on Thursday April 15th, 2021.
To avoid making mistakes. It is a good idea to start organizing your tax reporting statements such as W-2’s and 1099’s as they arrive. If they are coming through the mail system, it’s important to be especially vigilant. Identity thieves and fraudsters look for credit card statements and mail containing financial information. If you are going to be away from your residence, and your mail does not go in to a locked box or mail slot; arrange to have someone pick up your mail and place it inside your home.
Put Security Safeguards in Place
Mail delivery has been slow this year, and thus many people have switched over to online transmission of financial and credit card statements. This is tantalizing to thieves who would love to gain access to this information. Guard your passwords carefully. Never automatically click on a link. You should only trust links from people you personally know and sometimes their identity needs to be verified. Use caution, as account information can be hijacked and then used to email friends and colleagues.
The U.S. Government has some great resources you can use, if you have questions about a possible scam. Consult https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
Beware of Phishing
If the IRS needs to contact you, they use the United States Postal Service. They do not send text messages, emails or messages on social media. They will not call with threats to immediately arrest you if you do not send them money. To learn more about unsolicited email attempts, go to the government website www.IRS.gov/phishing. If you receive anything suspicious, report the phishing attempts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, only use secure Wi-Fi if you are filing electronically or communicating financial information. Do not use public Wi-Fi or unsecured networks such as those at coffee shops, libraries and hotels.
If you think you’ll be receiving a refund, the sooner you file the sooner you’ll receive your money. Many questions can be answered by visiting the government site https://www.usa.gov/file-taxes
Good luck and Happy Tax Season