By: Karen Leavitt, CPA, CDFA
Bronswick Reicin Pollack, Ltd.
“Lately I’ve been hearing more about people encountering fraudulent activity related to their tax returns. What kind of things should I look out for on this now and in the future?” It’s not your imagination. While we’ve shared on this topic in past updates, the number of suspect returns grew significantly this year. We’ve read of certain states experiencing thousands of suspicious returns early on in tax season. In all, close to 20 states found its taxpayers had had their data compromised.
One of the biggest “red flags” a taxpayer can witness in regard to fraudulent returns is learning that their return has already been filed…before they file themselves! At least in the case of this year’s more fraudulent returns, the source of the problem appeared to be related to TurboTax. When people used TurboTax to file their returns, they often found to their surprise that the return had been filed. The situation became so troubling that states like Minnesota stopped accepting tax returns if they were submitted through TurboTax.
Obviously at BRP, our clients don’t need to worry about a “do-it-yourself” service because their returns are in the hands of someone they know with a lot of tax prep experience. However, if you were to receive a letter from the IRS reporting that suspicious activities had occurred, that’s another big red flag too. In this event, we can help you take the proper steps forward to resolve the matter with the IRS, including filing any required forms. We can also obtain a PIN number from the IRS for verifying your identity in the future.
“OK, but how do I know if it’s really the IRS contacting me and not an imposter?” Excellent question. Remember this as Rule #1 when you’re trying to identify the authenticity of contact from the IRS: The IRS will never email you. And real IRS agents will not leave voice mails on your phone unless you have already made contact. Their primary method of communication is almost always by letter.
You don’t have to feel like a victim for long. Identity theft in any form can make you feel violated and the truth is that hackers are getting craftier in their methods all the time. But you don’t have to feel helpless due to tax return fraud forever.
Bronswick Reicin Pollack can help provide the clarity you need to go from victim to taking back control of your identity. If you’re wondering what your next move should be, give us a call today at 847.808.9800 or email us at info@BRP-CPAs.com.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this Blog (the “Blog”) is intended solely to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. In no event will BRP, or its partners, employees or agents, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this Blog or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.