2nd Quarter estimated tax payments are due on Monday, June 15.
Identity theft and fraudulent tax return filings continue to be in the news, at least the news that comes my way as a tax professional. The most recent incident affected 104,000 tax filers who had tax information stolen. The hackers were able to obtain enough information from social media, like Facebook, and social security numbers obtained from elsewhere, to request and receive tax return transcripts from the IRS. The transcripts provided the rest of the information needed to file fraudulent returns for refunds. The IRS has shuttered the online transcript tool, and taken other security measures. Some steps you can take to protect yourself:
File your tax return as early as possible
Guard your Social Security number. Never use it in email, give it over the phone, or provide it through a linked URL unless you are certain the link is safe. The IRS will never contact you through email, only through snail mail.
Be cautious of putting too much personal information on social media
Monitor your credit through one or all of the three national credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion)
If you ever become a victim of tax identity theft, you can apply for a special identity protection ID number, to thwart the filing of any more phony returns under your SSN.