• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

What scams should you be looking out for this tax season? A local financial planner weighs in

“You really need to protect your information, your Social Security numbers, your driver’s license numbers, of course, your bank accounts and everything,” a Prince George’s County financial planner tells WTOP.

With the deadline for filing taxes fast approaching on April 15, a financial planner in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is warning people about scams to look out for during tax season.

For some, filing for taxes is a challenging and arduous process. One of the big issues is fraud.

Around tax season, fraud cases are usually on the rise because scammers see an opportunity to steal your hard-earned money. Scammers call potential victims and pretend that they’re from the IRS, which doesn’t call people to ask for their money.

Last year, the IRS flagged over one million tax returns for identity fraud during tax season, a report from the Treasury Department found, adding that it confirmed 12,617 identity theft returns that same year.

Crystal Davis, president of tax preparation and wealth management company Davis Financial Services in Camp Springs, tells her clients to beware of scammers.

“You really need to protect your information, your Social Security numbers, your driver’s license numbers, of course, your bank accounts and everything,” she said. “You don’t want to send things over email with sensitive information unless it’s encrypted or it goes through a special process.”

Another potential challenge to filing is the process of pulling paperwork together. Davis recommends organizing your tax forms.

“As your tax forms start coming in to you in the mail, just set aside a place that you can put all your tax forms there, so that when tax time comes up, you’re not trying to search all over the place for whatever you might need. You already have it in that stack for you,” Davis said.

Davis said that it’s important to file your taxes early so that you can get ahead of the scammers.

“If you file early, there are people out there who will try to file tax returns using your name and information,” she said. “You file early, you beat them out.”

But if the scammers file before you, she said it could delay your refund because the IRS will “already have a returnable file for you.”

“That means that you have to file your tax return, you have to mail it in,” she said. “Now you’re in a long process where you won’t get your refund for months on end while the IRS tries to make sense of what’s going on.”

More news on filing taxes:

If you have a child or another dependent who does their own taxes, make sure that they’re still eligible to be a dependent before noting that on a tax return.

“You don’t want to lose a dependent that you could have, just because your child decided to file their own tax return,” said Davis. “Make sure before your children start filing their own taxes online. Make sure you talk with them so that they file it correctly so that you as the parent can still get the dependent credit that you’re supposed to get.”

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