It’s tax season! Is the IRS looking for you?
Here are some things to consider about income tax issues:
1. SCAMS: As I noted in my previous blog posting on May 27, 2016, there are plenty of scammers out there trying to fool you into thinking that you are in trouble with the IRS or New York State Tax Department and conning you into paying them money. They call you and demand payment for bogus arrears and ask for your charge card information and other personal identification.
More recent scammers are sending emails with links to bogus web sites where they also seek charge card and other personal information. The cleverest one is a fake IRS tax notice that claims you owe money as a result of the Affordable Care Act (Obama care.) These notices look like real IRS CP 2000 notices saying your income doesn’t match the information reported on your tax return.
Don’t fall for any of this! Don’t be a victim!
The tax authorities will never assert an arrears claim by phone, social media, or email. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of any of these claims, contact your tax preparer or give my office a call at 585-67-8529.
2. tax identity theft: Sometimes scammers will have obtained enough personal identification to file bogus tax returns in your name without your knowledge. This can cause all kinds of problems for you regarding collection attempts, credit reporting issues, and confusion when you file your own “real” return.
The best ways to avoid tax identity theft?
• File your tax return as early as possible.
• Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
• Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text, or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will contact you by mail.
• Check your credit report for free at annualcreditreport.com to make sure there are no unauthorized accounts.
3. Tax arrears management: Sometimes you legitimately owe tax arrears. It happens for all kinds of reasons but if you know that you will owe the tax authorities money make sure you file a timely return, regardless. Don’t ignore the problem.
By filing the return, even if you can’t pay timely, you will avoid additional penalties. You also will avoid being unable to discharge older tax obligations in a bankruptcy, if you ever need one. In addition, if you have to negotiate a workout of some sort at some time with the tax authorities, having a record of timely filing will make it much easier for you to negotiate a more favorable program.
If you have problems with the tax authorities of almost any kind, they can be fixed. If you need help, please call my office. I have over 30 years of experience in dealing with both the IRS and the New York State Department of Taxation and can sincerely say that I have resolved client problems in almost every case on favorable terms.