(FinancialHealth.net) – A lot of people put off filing their taxes until the last minute. Some owe money and need the time to get it together. Others just don’t want to pay the government any earlier than they need to.
There is one good reason for filing early that trumps any reason you can think of to wait — protecting yourself from identity theft.
Income taxes don’t always come to mind when one thinks of identity theft. We all worry about thieves opening credit card accounts or taking out loans in our names, but you probably never consider the possibility of someone falsifying your income tax forms and filing them before you.
An Ounce of Prevention
So, how does filing early protect you? Not only does the early bird get the worm, but he stakes his income tax claim first too. The first legitimate-looking income tax return the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) receives is the one kept on record. Anyone who files after that with the same social security number will raise flags within the IRS.
How to Prevent Tax Fraud
In addition to filing early, there are other things you can do to protect your identity as it pertains to your income tax returns.
- Get an identification PIN from the IRS.
- Don’t give personal information to anyone over the phone.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi when filing electronically.
- Don’t file by way of a link in an email from the “IRS”. The IRS will never email you.
If You Suspect It’s Happened to You:
Think you might be a victim? Contact the IRS immediately by calling 1-800-366-4484. They take these claims very seriously and will let you know exactly what steps to follow to protect yourself from liability related to fraudulent acts carried out in your name.
~Here’s to Your Financial Health
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