How to File Your Taxes Safely
February 20, 2020
Tax season is upon us again. Whether it’s your first time filing or you’re trying to get a head start this year, we have some tips to help you file your taxes safely.
1. How to file
It’s important to take precautions when you’re filing out documents with personal information, like your Social Security number. Here are some steps to take when filing your tax returns:
* File your taxes directly through the IRS website or a trusted tax preparer.
* Consider setting up direct deposit with the IRS for your refund.
* If you owe money, send it in through IRS Direct Pay or mail it from a post office.
2. Avoid identity theft
Identity theft when it comes to filing your taxes occurs when someone steals your personal information and files a tax return, claiming a fraudulent refund. Here are some protective measures you can take:
* File early. You can beat identity thieves to the punch by filing your return before they have a chance to commit fraud.
* Mail your tax return directly from the post office.
* Use a secure Internet connection if you file electronically. Do not use unsecure, public Wi-Fi hotspots such as those at coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, etc.
* Shred copies of your tax return, and any other documents used for filing, after three years. You should keep current documents somewhere safe, such as a lock box, until it’s time to dispose of them.
* Do not give out your Social Security number or Medicare information unless required.
* Research tax preparers thoroughly before using their services.
3. Ask for assistance
Some financial institutions may offer discounts or other tax services to help during tax season. Check your institution’s website for useful resources when it comes to preparing your tax returns. And, don’t forget; tax returns are due April 15, 2020!