IRS warns of identity theft when filing taxes


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – After a 10 day delay to the launch tax season is now in full swing, and the April 15th deadline is quickly approaching.

Are you hoping to make money off your tax refund this year?

Going online may be the solution.

“If you file electronically you have less than a 1% chance of there being an error on your return,” says Luis Garcia, Spokesman for the IRS.

Garcia says that’s compared to a 20% chance of error when filing by hand.

“Do it long hang you’re going to transpose numbers, fudge the math, or you may do all that work and forget to sign it.”

82% of Hoosiers will get a refund this year with the average being $3,000.

E-filing can also ensure a quick return.

“People want to get that money and they want to get it quickly then file electronically, use direct deposit, and you get your refund in about three weeks. If you go longhand and fill it out on paper you’re looking at 6-8 weeks,” says Garcia.

Filing online may have its benefits but with hundreds of options how do you spot the difference between a credible preparer and a fraudulent one?

“A red flag would be if they promise a bigger refund than their entitled too, or a quicker refund than their entitled too, also a return preparer should sign the return. In the old saying if it sounds too good to be true than it probably is,” says Kerry Hannigan, Special Agent with IRS Criminal Investigation.

To avoid identity theft it’s important to use caution when handing out information.

“They should safeguard their personal information, social security number, address, kids social security numbers so that the criminals can’t get them,” says Hannigan.

The IRS also has a message for those lurking identity thieves.

“We want to put those fraudulent return preparers on notice, it’s not a matter of if you get caught, it a matter of when,” says Hannigan.

As a reminder the IRS will never contact you and ask for payment by phone or email.

For a credible online source the IRS urges taxpayers to use their free file option on their website.

Returns of $58,000 or less in income, which applies to 70% of all taxpayers, are eligible at no cost.

For more information click the link below.

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