Posts Tagged ‘tax refund’

How To Recover From Identity Theft & Refund Fraud

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
How To Recover From Identity Theft & Refund Fraud

Have you been (or suspect you’ve been) a victim of identity theft and refund fraud? Rea & Associates recently compiled a variety of information that will help you recover from this nightmarish scenario.

Suspecting, and then confirming, that you’ve had your identity stolen is a nightmarish scenario. It combines one of your worst fears, losing your wallet or purse, with all of the work of replacing the things that were lost. It can be so overwhelming you might be wondering: “Where do I even start?”

An increasing number of identity thefts are first identified when a thief attempts to file a tax return on your behalf and claim a federal or state tax refund. To help you navigate some of the issues you may be confronted with, we recently released a compilation of documents and resources.

The documents that are included are intended to help you navigate some of the issues you may be confronted with if you find that you’ve been an identity theft and fraudulent tax return victim.

Read “How To Recover From Identity Theft & Refund Fraud

Beat The Identity Thieves

The guidance includes a variety of valuable information for those who have been (or suspect they’ve been) a victim of identity theft and refund fraud. The following is a brief synopsis of information included in this guide.

The IRS has provided a short list of items for you to complete, which is substantially similar to the items the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) covered in its longer, checklist-style guidance.

  • The primary item to complete for the IRS is Form 14039 which initiates the IRS fraud protection procedures.
  • Also included is a form letter, one of several, the IRS may send to a taxpayer if tax return fraud is suspected to be occurring on the account.
  • The IRS has published a number of articles related to identify theft and how to protect yourself. A master page with links to all these topics is included in this packet. You may also check out some of our recent articles on the topic, which can be found in the “Related Articles” portion of this post.

The process of reporting fraud in Ohio is similar to the IRS procedures.

  • Ohio also sends form letters to the taxpayer.
    • Ohio recently added an identity quiz for roughly 50 percent of taxpayers requesting a refund. This letter simply asks the taxpayer to complete a quiz specifically used to prove their identity. Note: This request doesn’t indicate that your identity has been stolen (unless you haven’t filed your tax return for the year yet).
    • If the Ohio Department of Taxation suspects fraudulent activity on the account, the taxpayer will receive a second letter that will indicate these suspicions.
  • Ohio includes an affidavit (Form IT TA) that must be filled out to initiate their protection procedures, similar to Federal.

The FTC is the primary federal government agency dealing with identity theft.

  • The FTC has put together a very detailed, checklist to help you with the identity theft process. The guidance includes information on most forms of identity theft – of which tax identity theft is just one. While this may be more information than you need, if the fraud has gone beyond your tax returns and includes false credit activity (or you are concerned this may happen), this guide will be very useful for you.
    • The guide includes a wealth of information, such as sample letters and a variety of websites and contact information to relevant organizations that can help you. It also guides you through the process of making a police report in response to the theft of your personal information.
  • Note: The IRS and the FTC generally do not share data with each other. Therefore if you have completed the IRS identify theft notification procedures, don’t assume that the FTC, credit bureaus, etc., are also aware of your situation.

Check Your Mail, Not Your Caller ID

Remember, the first contact taxpayers will have with the IRS regarding any issue will be in the form of an official mailed letter – not a phone call. These scammers appear to be determined to steal your money and/or your identity and reports of these types of scams continue to be on the rise. By educating yourself, your friends and your family, you are taking a proactive stance against these criminals.

If you would like to learn more about how you can protect yourself against, and recover, from Identity Theft & Refund Fraud, click here to view our compilation of documents and resources. You may also email Rea & Associates for more information.

By Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office) and Lesley Mast, CPA (Wooster office)

 

Related Articles

Update: Ohio Tax Quiz Appears To Be Working

When Scammers Demand That You Pay Up, IRS Says You Should Hang Up

Be On Guard For IRS Phone Scams

Share Button

How To Prepare For A Federal Tax Return Headache

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Planning to buy a new big-screen television? Airline tickets for that Caribbean vacation you’ve been looking forward to?  A new car? You might want to wait a little longer.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen recently warned American taxpayers that some federal refunds could be delayed for a week or more because of recent budget cuts. So, if you file your tax return on paper, before you start spending that income tax refund check, you might want to wait for the cash to actually find its way into your bank account. Expect to feel a little discomfort during this tax season.

Refund Delays

Historically, refunds for electronically filed federal returns were processed within 21 days of the e-filing acceptance date. Paper returns were typically processed within six to eight weeks from the date they were received. Amended tax return refunds take even longer – the turnaround for these returns were typically 12 weeks.

“People who paper file tax returns could wait an extra week – or possibly longer – to see their refund,” said Koskinen in a memo sent to IRS staff. “Taxpayers with errors or questions on their returns that require additional manual review will also face delays.”

In his memo, Koskinen didn’t explicitly address electronically filed returns, but it wouldn’t be a surprise for these refunds to be delayed (at least a little bit) as well.

Phone Jams

Nearly eight out of ten taxpayers receive an average tax refund totaling $2,800, which prompts many taxpayers to check in on the status of their refunds by calling the IRS. The agency is predicting an abysmal connection rate of these calls this year – 43 percent connection rate with a hold time of 30 minutes or more.

Instead, if you would like to track the status of your refund, hang up the phone and log onto the IRS’s website to use its Where’s My Refund feature.

Time will only tell how these budget cuts will impact next year’s tax return process, as well as other services provided by the IRS. In the meantime, start preparing to file your tax return as early as possible to avoid additional delays. Email Rea & Associates to learn more.

By: Trista Acker, CPA, CFP (Dublin office)

 

Related Articles

Too Close For Comfort?

New Year, New Mileage Rates

Retirees Get Cranky Over Tax Returns

Share Button

Where’s Your Tax Refund?

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Do you find yourself checking your mailbox every day? Or maybe you’re watching your bank account to see if your account balance went up? It’s the time of year that many Americans are waiting with bated breath for their coveted tax refund. If you haven’t already, you’re probably getting ready to file your tax returns in the next few weeks, and you may be wondering when you can expect to receive your refund or if there’s anything you can do to speed it up. Well, wonder no more and read on!

Speeding Up Your 2013 Tax Refund

The best way to receive your tax refund sooner than later is to file your tax return electronically and to select “direct deposit” as the delivery method for your refund. Electronic filing is faster, more accurate, and more secure than paper-filing your return. Likewise, direct deposit is faster and more secure than receiving a paper check refund. There’s no chance of your refund check being lost or stolen if it’s electronically deposited directly into your bank account. Please note that calling the IRS will not speed up your refund.

When Will You Receive Your Federal Tax Refund?

If you’ve already submitted your 2013 tax return and are curious where your refund is at, you can check the status of your federal tax refund using the IRS program, “Where’s My Refund?” This is available at http://www.irs.gov/Refunds, or you can use the mobile app, IRS2GO. If you file your return electronically, you can check the status 24 hours after your return was electronically submitted. If you file a paper return, you can check the status four weeks after your return is mailed.

In order to use “Where’s My Refund?”, you’ll need the primary taxpayer’s social security number, the filing status, and the exact amount of the refund. Your return will be in one of three stages:  Return Received, Refund Approved, or Refund Sent. While using “Where’s My Refund?” will not speed up the waiting time, it’s a convenient way to check the status of your refund.

Got Tax Questions?

If you have tax-related questions, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Ohio tax professionals would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Author: Cathy Troyer, CPA (New Philadelphia office)

 

Looking for other tax-related articles? Check these out:

What Tax Benefits Exist When You Donate to Charity?

What Tax Liabilities Accompany Inherited Real Estate?

What’s The Relationship Between Side-Businesses And Tax Deductions?

 

Share Button

How Can Employers in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan & Tennessee Get a FICA Tax Refund?

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Downsizing by companies has been a fact of life over the past several years.  As a part of this process companies may have paid severance payments to employees who were involuntarily terminated due to either: (1) reduction in force (“RIF”) initiatives or (2) plant closings or other similar conditions.

Historically the IRS has argued that such payments are subject to FICA tax withholding in addition to income tax withholding at the time of payment.  In 2002, the Court of Federal Claims in CSX Corp v. U.S. held that severance payments made by CSX were not subject to FICA tax and thus CSX was entitled to refunds of amounts previously withheld.   The IRS appealed and in 2008 the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Court of Claims holding that such payments were subject to FICA tax. (more…)

Share Button

When Can You Expect to Receive Your Tax Refund?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

If you’re expecting a federal tax refund this year, it could be delayed. The agency reports that new anti-fraud measures could slow the refund process by approximately one week. (more…)

Share Button