Ladies and gents, listen up. This one is for you.
DISCLAIMER: I work for an accountant. This is NOT to be taken as tax advice, I am NOT a CPA. I am, however, very safeguarding of my people, and this is about a criminal act that can impact – or has already impacted – a lot of people.
There was an article published recently that the IRS has reported a soar in identity theft via tax records.
The article is here: courtesy of Associated Press
This is how that scheme works:
1. Person gets your name, address, and social.
2. Person files a bogus tax return using your name, a different address, and your social.
3. Person receives – and deposits – a “tax refund”
4. When you try to file your legit tax return…your return gets rejected because it’s a “duplicate.” Thus, if you do have a legit refund, you’ll never see it.
This is a tactic that’s rapidly increasing in number. I will not break client confidentiality, and therefore can’t disclose the particulars of these cases, but I will say this: it is a huge, enormous, major mess once you’re caught as the victim. There’s nothing more stressful than having to prove that you are you. And, worse, your tax and financial records are s-c-r-e-w-e-d.
Look: no matter how much love you have, or don’t have, for the IRS, this is the one part of your life that you should always keep an eye on, because that can, and will, screw up everything else. Tax returns and credit rating go hand-in-hand. Banks pretty much screen your life before they issue you a mortgage, and what’s the first thing they ask for? Tax returns. I can’t even begin to tell you how fucked your life will be if your tax records will get screwed up.
So do yourselves a favor. Before you get to H&R Block, or your friendly neighborhood accountant, first thing you do is find out whether or not a tax return was filed under your info already. Get to the IRS website, get the number – whether general or regional office, they’d be able to tell you right quick – and give a buzz before you go and file. Trust when I say that it’s easier to do a little extra work now than to have to go through the gamut later.