Our blog recently discussed where to find free tax preparation services in Kansas City. However, much more can be said about why you should prepare to file your taxes early. Thousands of Americans have their tax refunds stolen by cybercriminals each year. Cybercriminals will file fraudulent tax returns after stealing the Social Security numbers and other identifying information from victims. Refunds are typically stolen during the beginning of tax season. Filers are less likely to notice the theft until they e-file weeks or months later.
If you are affected by tax refund fraud, then the IRS will send you a notice in the mail. This notice will inform you that a return has already been filed in your name. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you can reduce the chances of having your refund stolen by filing your taxes as soon as you have the necessary information and paperwork.
The IRS continues to implement new safeguards each year to reduce instances of tax-related identity theft. For the 2018 filing season, the IRS worked alongside states and the tax industry to implement new safeguards. The IRS has also become more effective at working with banks to stop fraudulent refunds from being processed. You should still take tax-related identity theft seriously even with new safeguards in place for 2018. Even if you can recover a stolen tax refund, the process could be time-consuming and frustrating.
What If I am a Victim of Tax-Related Identity Theft?
The IRS maintains that it should be contacted right away if you experience identity theft. In addition, the IRS also recommends calling the FTC’s identity theft hotline for further assistance. Both agencies will recommend additional steps to resolve the situation. If you are attempting to resolve an identity theft issue with the IRS, be aware that it could take up to 180 days.
There are additional steps you could take to reduce instances of identity theft. Future blogs will discuss tips from federal agencies that could help protect you and family members during tax season. For future blog updates on tips for tax season, follow the Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys at The Sader Law Firm on Facebook and Twitter.