Our network of Certified Public Accounts have informed us that there is a significant rise in fraudulent tax returns being filed. The IRS is combating refund fraud and identity theft. But what should you do to be proactive and protect yourself from being the next victim?
As society and technology advance, unfortunately, so do the scammers. It’s becoming very problematic, whether it’s phishing tactics, hijacking your email or password(s), or worse yet, obtaining your social security number and then stealing your identity to get your tax refund. Over the past several years, the IRS has been aggressively fighting against refund fraud and identity theft. Due to the growing amount of fraud—surprise, surprise—the IRS now has a designated Fraud Department. You can read more about how they’re addressing refund fraud and identity theft by clicking here. If you think you’ve been the victim of refund fraud and/or identity theft, you will need to call the IRS Fraud Department at: (800) 908-4490.
If you haven’t been a refund fraud or identity theft victim yet, there is no reason to wait and set-up this IP PIN when file your future tax returns.
Get An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN)
Now, just so we’re on the same page, this is an entirely different PIN than the verification PIN you may receive from the IRS on your smart phone when logging into your IRS account online. The PIN we’re talking about in this article is an IP PIN and will be included on your tax return, whether filing electronically or by paper. If you haven’t been a refund fraud or identity theft victim yet, there is no reason to wait and set-up this IP PIN when you file your future tax returns. Applying online at irs.gov is easy. As of this writing, 20 states participate in the identity protection program including Michigan. The IRS is eventually expanding it nationwide, so if your state is not on the list yet, be patient. Check the link provided in this paragraph often and we highly suggest you sign-up as soon as it’s available in your state.
How it works
You will initially file for your IP PIN online with the IRS. We recommend doing this after you’ve filed your taxes for the current year. Once you verify your identity, you will receive your first IP PIN online and use this PIN the next time you file your taxes, so keep it in a safe place. When you are ready to sign and submit your return, you will then provide that PIN to your tax professional. Every year thereafter, the IRS will snail mail you a new IP PIN in January for the current tax year due on April 15th. This IP PIN will only be good for one year and will automatically change every year thereafter. Unfortunately, you will not be able to choose your own IP PIN as they are computer generated by the IRS.
Bottom line is this: Don’t wait until you’ve been a victim of refund fraud or identity theft. You must always be proactive and not reactive when safeguarding your personal and sensitive information. Make sure to check out our article titled “Email Containing Sensitive Information Equals Risk!”
Posted from Admin at Association Financial Services, LLC