Why Taxpayers Should Worry About Identity Theft

A month-long window of opportunity has opened up for scammers, and its timing is crucial for honest taxpayers. Here’s why: Identity theft. Documents that you need in order to file your 2015 tax returns should start arriving soon in your mailbox. Employers are required to mail W-2 and 1099 forms by Jan. 31; banks and brokerage firms may have later deadlines. With your Social Security number and other sensitive information, this paperwork provides identity thieves with enough details to open …

Scam-Proof 2016 With These 7 Simple Steps

Happy New Year! Start 2016 on the right foot, with these simple steps to reduce your risk of scams: Freeze your credit file. The best way to proactively prevent identity theft (as well as minimize damage after it occurs), a credit freeze restricts access to your credit report. Without being able to review it, most creditors won’t issue loans, credit cards or other credit in your name – helpful when your personal data falls into the wrong hands, whether resulting from …

New IRS Message to Taxpayers: We’ve Got Your Back

The recently installed head of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, dropped in on members of the media the other day at the National Press Club in Washington. His message: The tax collection agency is out to restore public trust amid accusations the IRS acted inappropriately in reviewing tax-exempt status for certain public welfare groups, known as 501(c)(4) organizations. “Taxpayers need to be confident that the IRS will treat them fairly. It doesn’t make any difference who they are, what …

IRS Owes You $760 Million in Refunds

No, it’s not opposite day. The IRS really does owe almost 1 million taxpayers like you nearly $760 million in refunds – or a median $571 for about half of those owed money. The IRS says the refunds are owed to people who didn’t file a federal income tax return for 2010. But here’s the catch: To collect the money, you’ve got to file a 2010 return with the IRS no later than Tuesday, April 15. “We encourage students, part-time workers …

How Long Should I Keep Tax Documents?

The following is a guest post by Jim Young. Ever wonder how long you really need to hold on to your tax documents? Depending on which expert you ask, you might get a range of responses ranging from a few years to a lifetime. See also: Find an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide location near you. IRS Publication 552 gives you a direct answer and says that you are required to keep records as long as they may be needed for the …