Filing your taxes using a tax software program will take you a bit more time this year. This is because the IRS and tax software companies have started a new initiative that will require you to take a few extra steps when filling out your tax return, for security purposes. According to the IRS, more than 5 million tax returns were filed using stolen identities during the 2013 filing season, claiming approximately $30 billion in refunds. Instead of getting annoyed by the hassle of these security measures try to remember, its better than having your identity or tax refund stolen. Learn 7 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft and Tax Fraud below.
What You Can Do
Besides the added security software companies are providing, the three major tax-prep software makers recommend that consumers also take additional steps. Among their suggestions:
- Use updated security software on your computer, and keep it turned on.
- Use updated firewall and anti-virus software.
- Create strong passwords.
- Keep paper records under lock and key.
- Shred tax papers you no longer need. Tax records can be destroyed after seven years.
- Encrypt electronic data and store it on a backup hard drive.
- Wipe your computer’s hard drive clean before disposing of it.
Finally, if despite all these measures you discover that you have been a victim of tax fraud, submit IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, to the IRS. That will start an investigation.
SRC: Learn more New Ways to Avoid Identity Theft and Tax Fraud at: www.consumerreports.org/money/new-ways-to-avoid-identity-theft-and-tax-fraud?EXTKEY=I72RSE0