File Your Taxes Early to Avoid Falling Victim to Identity Theft

File Your Taxes Early to Avoid Falling Victim to Identity Theft

File Your Taxes Early to Avoid Falling Victim to Identity Theft


If you’re like most, you may put off filing your individual tax return until close to the April 15th deadline. But there’s another date you should keep in mind: January 19th. That’s the date the IRS began accepting 2015 returns, and filing as close to that date as possible could protect you from the hassles and complications of tax-related identity theft.


In this increasingly common scam, thieves use victims’ personal information to file fraudulent tax returns electronically and claim bogus refunds. When the real taxpayers file, they’re notified that they’re attempting to file duplicate returns.

Tax identity theft can cause major headaches to straighten out and significantly delay legitimate refunds. But if you file first, it will be the thief who’s filing the duplicate return, not you.


Of course you need to have all of your key tax forms in order to file. February 1st is the deadline for employers to issue 2015 W-2s to employees and, generally, for businesses to issue 1099s to recipients of any 2015 interest, dividend or reportable miscellaneous income payments.


Let us know if you have questions or concerns about tax identity theft or would like to file your 2015 return now. An added bonus of filing early is enjoying your refund sooner.  If you typically owe, remember that April 15th is still the due date for all your taxes due even if you decide to file an extension.  Like we always say, an extension applies only to filing the return but NOT to paying the tax – your tax is due on or before April 15th every year!


Don’t Fall Victim to Tax Scams

We see it happening more and more with the passing of each tax season.  Scammers are out in full-force becoming sneakier all the time.  Here’s a typical scenario –

You get a phone call from someone who says they are from the Internal Revenue Service and they claim you owe taxes and must submit payment through a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Or you receive an email supposedly from the IRS asking you to share your bank account, credit card or Social Security number.  We even had a customer receive a text message saying it was someone preparing their tax returns.  What would you do if you found yourself in this situation?

The sad truth is that many scammers pretend to be IRS agents as part of an identity theft attempt or other criminal activity.

identity thief

Most tax scams are an attempt at identity theft.

If you receive a surprising or suspicious communication purportedly from the IRS, we would urge you to call us immediately. We can help you identify a bogus request for information and work with you to respond to a legitimate IRS contact. You can also call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 to verify any communication you receive.  We have additional information on protecting yourself from identity theft as well as the exact steps you must take if you find that your identity has been comprised in a tax scam.

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