Tax Season: Are You As Prepared As You Should Be?
Its tax season and you know what that means. That means a refund! Well, for most of us, this is usually the case. Some of some of us are. Some of us are not. There is something more important, though we need to discuss. It’s something called identity theft. Identity theft happens all the time.
I’m sure many of you have been the victims of identity theft. I was a few times. It’s not fun. Which is why, during tax season, it’s even more important that you remain on your toes. All it takes is for you to give your information out to the wrong person. Once that happens, all bets are off.
This is why I have enclosed a few basic rules to follow when you prepare your taxes. As of 2013, over 1 million people were the victims of identity theft. The numbers just keep on rising. Do you really want to be next?
Helpful Tax Filing Tips
Locating A Good Company To File Your Taxes
Only work with someone who is genuine. In order to find someone reputable, you have to do some research. Make a list of the people you want to use. After that, make a call to each one. Find out their credentials. Look into how long they have been in business. When you speak to someone personally, ask him or her for their references. This is just good business.
This even goes for those of you who file online. Remember, you are giving out your bank information. You are giving out your social security number. Once someone gets a hold of your social, it’s all over.
Online Tax Companies
Can online be trusted? Some say yes and some say no. Do the research, even for someone as reputable as Turbo Tax. There has been a lot of talk lately about how genuine the company really, especially since some of the staff has been doing things a bit dodgy. Here’s a hint: If you can’t get a person on the phone, go somewhere else.
When To File
There are those who say filing early is the best possible solution. Although recently, it’s come to our attention that filing early is not a good idea. Many seem to think it’s because of the increase in identity theft. This could be true. Filing early does have it’s advantages. It also has it’s disadvantages. The one major disadvantage is people getting their hands on your information sooner.
I’ve got news for you, identity theft is going to happen, when it happens. It doesn’t matter how soon you file or how late you file. People file early because they are in a hurry to get their refund. The only thing I’d suggest is don’t wait until the last minute. File when you can, but only when you have all the information in your hands. If you don’t have to file an extension, don’t do it.
Filing an extension used to be a good option for those who really needed it. These days too many people take this route. For some, it’s just an excuse to put it off another couple of months. I don’t recommend doing this. Filing an extension will only increase your odds of getting hacked and having your identity stolen.
Filing Out In Public
Even if you do file your taxes online, don’t do it out in public. Computers which use public access cannot be trusted. There are too many people around. Too many people who can get into your stuff. There could be a hacker sitting across from you, and you won’t even know it.
The only way you’d know it is if you are skilled enough to spot one. I doubt many of you have these skills. I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m just being honest. It takes a special type of skill to spot these guys.
I suggest using your computer in your own home. It’s a lot more secure and much safer. Out in public, others can hack into your password. If you are in your own home, you can keep tabs on this activity more efficiently.
Calls From The IRS
Whatever you do, never accept these calls. This was on the news the other day. There are people calling, all claiming to be from the IRS. They claim that you owe money. Even if you do pick up the call, hang up right away. Never give out any information. I don’t care if they are relentless about it, don’t give out anything.
In fact, just hang up on them. These are all scams. There are more of these scams coming to the surface today. Unfortunately, some are not wise enough to pick up on it. That is, until, they become victims too. Please avoid this at all costs. Just don’t pick up the call.
On the topic of data security this tax season, make sure that when you file your tax forms, ask your service provider about how they ensure your client data is 100% secure. For the last 4 tax seasons, I’ve used a very trusted provider to efile 1099 forms for my clients and their staff. They’re eFile4Biz.com. After I file 1099 online for a client, they do the printing and delivery of the client’s forms to their employees. It’s quite a weight off my shoulders, and it also leaves me time to handle clients, instead of sitting at a printer all day. You should check them out.