Many people are going to get an unhappy surprise this year. The income tax refund checks that they have been waiting on will never show up at their home, diverted by a criminal that stole their identity or successfully changed the address that the refund should have been going towards. Tax-related identity theft can be a nightmare for those who end up caught in the web and more people are being affected every year. To avoid becoming a victim, you should follow these tips.
File As Early As You Can
Instead of waiting until the last minute to file your income taxes with the federal and state governments, you should try to send in your information as soon after you receive the relevant documents as you can. Filing your taxes as soon as your W-2s arrive not only eliminated the chances that you will miss the filing date and have to pay a penalty, it also reduces the risks that someone will be able to steal your documents and file fraudulently in your name. However, if you do not have the money available to pay your taxes at that time, you will have to store your completed tax forms and documents in a secure location until you can send the money that you owe with your completed tax information.
Keep Your Documents Secure
It is easier for criminals to steal your identity and your tax refund if they have your tax documents from your employer or your bank in hand. It is important for you to keep an eye on your mail and keep your tax documents secure once you have received them. The “Tax Documents Enclosed” label on the front of the envelope makes it very easy for criminals to spot their target. If your mailbox does not lock and you are gone most of the day, consider investing in one that does lock or a post office box at your local post office for additional security.
Filing online is one of the fastest and easiest ways available for filing your taxes. There are a number of vendors that supply online tax forms for electronic filing and many people are able to file their federal income tax forms online for free. The forms are transmitted instantly, you immediately receive a confirmation that your information was submitted successfully, you do not have to guess at how much postage is needed to send in your forms, and your return will be processed more quickly. You can also have your refund direct-deposited into your bank account to receive the funds as quickly as possible.