Every year you hear about identity thieves filing tax returns in other peoples’ names in order to snatch their refunds, but you may not realize what a big business this is for some crooks. Case in point: A pair of Illinois women who have pleaded guilty to filing more than 850 bogus returns worth nearly $2.8 million in refunds. [More]
Before any of you wake up in a panic this morning, realizing it’s April 15 and you haven’t filed your annual tax return, remember that Tax Day is actually April 18 this year. That’s because Emancipation Day (April 16) falls on a Saturday this year. This holiday — recognized in Washington, D.C. — is being observed today, meaning the D.C.-based IRS office is closed for the day. So enjoy the extra few days, but remember that you’ll still have to file (at least an extension) after the weekend is done.
Because trying to steal money from others will never get old for criminals, scammers are constantly changing tacks to come up with new ways to rake in their ill-gotten gains. This tax season, there’s a new trick bedeviling taxpayers over the phone. [More]
Because we know our readers aren’t the type to pass up free money, now would be a good time for you to check and make sure you claimed your 2012 tax refund: according to the Internal Revenue Service, about a million taxpayers have yet to collect almost a billion dollars in federal refunds from that tax year. And the clock is ticking. [More]
It was just last week that we wrote about how this year will probably be better than last year for U.S. taxpayers with questions or problems. Yet looking forward to the next decade or so, changes in how the IRS provides support will mean leaving some Americans behind. [More]
After lawmakers called on the Internal Revenue Service for more transparency for victims of identity theft, the agency says it will give those people copies of fake tax returns filed using their name and information.
Congress was understandably alarmed at the news that cyberbaddies, believed to be criminals based in Russia, were able to gain access to previous years’ return data for 104,000 U.S. taxpayers. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing today, where the Inspector General of the IRS explained that the agency simply isn’t keeping up with the criminals who want its data. [More]
A tax transcript is a document from the IRS that shows key information from tax returns that you’ve already filed, or changes to what you and the government owe each other that may have been made after the return was filed. You can normally order them online, but the system is now closed after the IRS learned that people identified only as “thieves” accessed transcripts for about 100,000 people. [More]
With the deadline for filing your annual tax return coming quickly, millions of Americans are putting their 1040s and other forms in the hands of largely unregulated paid tax preparers. But a new undercover report from the National Consumer Law Center finds that many of these preparers either don’t know what they’re doing or are allowing taxpayers to file false information. [More]
In the aftermath of revelations that fraudsters exploited TurboTax and had possibly filed bogus returns in many states, the Internal Revenue Service is contacting people linked to suspiciously filed returns, and asking them to verify their identity to find out if the return is real or not.
Are fraudulent tax returns the fault of the IRS, or caused by a weakness in the most popular software programs that consumers use to file their taxes? Former employees of Intuit, maker of TurboTax, allege that the company prevented security staff from flagging and shutting down obviously fraudulent accounts. Why? Market share. Fraudsters were ditching TurboTax and using other tax software when the company flagged their returns. [More]
Millions of Americans will owe the IRS anywhere from a few dollars to many thousands of dollars when they file their income tax returns, and not all of them have funds available to pay what they owe. The simple answer might be to just put that bill on your credit card, but you could end up paying a lot more than you expect. [More]
Days after TurboTax resumed e-filing of all state tax returns following a third-party security expert’s finding that fraudulent activity reported by state tax officials did not result from a breach of Intuit’s own systems, federal regulators announced they would take a look for themselves. [More]
After Minnesota state tax officials stopped taking all TurboTax e-filed returns last night and other states pressed pause as well amidst possible fraudulent activity, Intuit has announced that it’s halting all state e-filed returns while it investigates criminal attempts to use stolen data to file fraudulent returns and claim refunds.
Walmart recently announced a service that allows consumers who use certain participating tax preparers to pick up their refunds at a Walmart store. The program already has one high-profile detractor in the form of Connecticut Commissioner of Revenue Services Kevin Sullivan who says he believes the program is intended to get consumers to spend their refunds at Walmart. [More]
While one might assume that it requires a modicum of tax expertise and perhaps some sort of certification to be a paid tax preparer, the sad fact is that most states have little to no standards for selling tax preparation services, meaning that once again millions of Americans are being put at risk when seeking help with their tax returns. [More]