Tax News – February 2017

 Tax-related Identity theft – with its related scams to steal personal and financial data from taxpayers or data held by tax professionals – has become a huge problem for the IRS and state tax agencies. The IRS has been proactive in implementing measures to combat this problem.
One of those measures is to DELAY the processing of Federal refunds until Feb 15, to allow extra time to review returns for possible fraud. This means taxpayers may not begin receiving Federal refunds until late February or the first of March.
The IRS recommends filing your returns early. Here are other recommendations, published by the IRS, to help you combat identity theft and fraud.
Security Reminders for Taxpayers

The IRS and its partners remind taxpayers they can do their part to help in this effort. Taxpayers and tax professionals should:

  • Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records stored on the computer. Use strong passwords.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening phone calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as banks, credit card companies and government organizations, including the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  • Protect personal data. Don’t routinely carry a Social Security card, and make sure tax records are secure. Treat personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.