18 April, the deadline for submitting the tax return in the tax season 2017 is getting closer. With that, activities of the tax frauds also gain intensity. As the deadlines are nearer, taxpayers are in a hurry to file the return and the fraudulent minds tend to take advantage of that.
That comes by grabbing your personal information related to tax. Therefore, protecting your personal information is a strong step to stay safe with taxes.
Image Credit: Patrick via Flickr
Here are some of the tips that can come in handy in keeping your personal information protected during this tax season:
Table of Contents
A. Do Not Share Details With Unconfirmed Sources
The fraudsters aiming to grab your personal information may try to connect with you over phone calls or chat and may even meet you in person. Some of the tricks that they deploy are:
- They may have partial details of you (such as date of birth, email id, phone number, etc.) that they managed to get using some other ways such as social media.
- They make the call from the number that appears to be similar to the location of IRS office in your state.
- Spammy emails maybe using the domain that somehow resembles IRS.
- They may offer special discount (which is obviously not true) on the payable taxes to lure you into trusting them.
- They may even scare that you might land in jail or have to pay very heavy fine.
Importantly, be rightful with your taxes so that you do not have to worry about threats. Apart from that, when you are contacted by the end of IRS for any purpose, ensure that you verify their authenticity. Check the email domain and grammar of the email content, confirm the sender details with your tax preparing expert, and the signature used.
IRS does not usually ask for the personal information over phone calls or emails. When required, IRS will give you certain forms to fill that are available on their website and can be submitted online or at IRS office. So, avoid sharing any detail without verifying authenticity.
B. Secure The Devices You Are Using For Filing
Technology eases the process of preparing and filing taxes, but some may use it against you to steal your details. Since your device stores personal details vital for the tax return filing, it is of primary priority to keep it protected from the harmful minds. To keep your device secure, you should follow these tips:
- Activate Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) for logins on software and email
- Avoid connecting to unsecured public networks, such as – open wifi at public places
- Timely install the security updates for software and operating system
- Scan files before that you download
- Scan the email before you open them
- Avoid clicking on the links in the email from unknown/suspicious sources
C. Use Reliable Experts and Software
There have been cases where the fake tax preparers have used the personal information of their clients to commit frauds. So, be careful when making a choice with a tax preparer. A valid Preparer Tax Identification Number (or PTIN) of the tax preparer is important to verify that the person is allowed by the IRS to prepare the returns.
In recent years, the use of tax software has gained popularity and most users prefer filing taxes using software over paper-filing. Since the software will carry almost every tax detail of you and your business, the reliability is an uncompromisable factor.
Pick a trusted tax software from authentic vendors and resellers. If you are going with the cloud-hosted option for the software, consciously ask for the security practices followed by the hosting provider. Once you have ticked all the boxes, you can feel relaxed and concentrate on filing the taxes before the deadline.