With all of the data breaches, hackings and other things we need to worry about, let me add one more to the list – pop-up tax offices. With tax season approaching, here’s something to think about:
What if the tax office you are sitting in isn’t a real tax office, but a bunch of scammers using a new ploy to get your personal information and steal your refund? Yes, you might walk out with a prepared tax return, but what if the “preparer” changes the return after you left? Perhaps the scammer changed the banking information on your refund. Perhaps the scammer inflated your deductions like mortgage interest, charitable donations, etc. There’s your quick ticket to an IRS audit. Not to mention, you will never see your refund.
Beware of who is preparing your tax return. See if they are credentialed (Enrolled Agent, CPA, tax attorney), and have been in business for a while. Or are they unlicensed preparers using copies of software they got at a local office supply store (not meant for paid preparation), and not signing the tax return (which is illegal!). Look at page 2 of your Form 1040. If your tax return says “Self-Prepared” in the “Prepared By” box, there’s your first sign that you did not go to a legitimate preparer, but to a potential identity thief.
If you are waiting on a refund that never shows up, or if you get a letter from the IRS questioning your tax return, you need to contact the IRS immediately to sort out any issues. If your identity was in fact stolen, there are steps to take. When you are terrified, you can’t think straight, so I put together my latest book to help you navigate. For more information, visit RealLifeTaxAdvice.com, for Combat Identity Theft: The Workbook. You’ll receive an immediate PDF download explaining how tax-related identity theft can happen, and the exact steps you need to take to regain your identity (and your sanity!). No need to scramble trying to figure out what to do – get the clear, concise steps in one place. Easy to understand, with journal space to write out exactly when you made certain calls and sent paperwork to the taxing authorities, and other things to look out for.
Until next time, stay safe!
P.S. — The Quickbooks Connect conference was awesome! I taught my signature class “Tax Bootcamp for the Self-Employed”, and we had a blast! Great audience of self-employed people who wanted to learn (TONS of questions!), as well as tax professionals who wanted to learn more about self-employment for themselves and their clients. All in all, an incredible conference; Intuit ran it like clockwork.
Tax pro Abby Eisenkraft @ QuickBooks Connect Conference in San Jose
Want to connect with Tax Pro Abby? Email abby@RealLifeTaxAdvice.com.
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