Prep for Safe Tax Filing … and for Scammers

There’s good reason — several, actually — why Monday kicks off Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. As the tax-filing season gets under way for 2014 returns, the Internal Revenue Service faces massive budget cuts while two widespread tax scams continue. In addition to the epidemic IRS impostor scam, in which scammers pose as agents of that agency or the U.S. Treasury Department to extort supposedly “owed taxes,” there is another threat in the coming weeks: early filing of bogus tax returns to …

Personal Scams, Not Data Breaches, Are Real Cons of 2014

While some 750 documented data breaches and the hacking of 160 million personal and business and government payment records dominated the news in 2014, the prime calling cards of scammers trying to steal your hard-earned money were intimidation and fear. Here’s how the scams work: IRS Impostor Scam: In what officials had already called “the largest scam of its kind” in March, scammers continue to pose as agents of the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury Department in live and automated …

IRS Boosts Limits for 401(k) Contributions

If you’ve been wanting to sock away more money in your workplace retirement savings plan, next year’s your chance. This morning the Internal Revenue Service announced that next year’s contribution limits will go up by $500, to $18,000 for 401(k)s, 403 (b) plans at nonprofits and most 457 plans offered by state and local governments, as well as the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. >> Boost Your 401(k) Retirement Savings Workers ages 50 and older are entitled to make extra contributions …

Do a Midyear Checkup on Your Health Care Subsidy

Maybe you thought your work was done once you bought health insurance for the year on one of the government-run exchanges. Not quite. The IRS and other tax experts say now is a good time to revisit that purchase to make sure you’re getting the federal premium assistance you’re entitled to. Whether you’re getting too little - or too much and have to repay it later - there’s still time to contact the exchange and correct any errors for this year. >> Birthday …

Tax Scammers Up Ante With Robocalls

In the four months since it made history as “the largest scam of its kind,” a now infamous IRS imposter telephone scam has escalated with a recent new spin. As fraudsters continue to pose as agents with that agency or the U.S. Treasury Department in “live” calls that threaten arrest or deportation, along with the seizure of property, businesses and driver’s licenses, they’ve recently upped the ante to now also incorporate robocalls in this widespread ruse. Either way, the story is …

It’s Tax Day! Don’t Forget to File

If you’re rushing to get your taxes done before today’s midnight deadline, take some comfort that you’re not alone. The Internal Revenue Service expects to receive about 35 million returns in the last week or so before the filing deadline. At this point, the time for most moves to lessen your tax bite is long over, although even on this deadline day you may have one more opportunity. It’s still possible to make a 2013 contribution to a deductible individual retirement …