It is once again tax season. This year there are changes due to the Affordable Care Act; also the IRS has released its “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2015.
Affordable Care Act:
Here is an informational video about the changes due to the ACA:
As noted in the video:
- People who purchased health insurance through the exchange will get a statement from the exchange. The letter will include information about the policy and any advanced payments of the tax credit.
- The form will include an additional box to indicate that you had health insurance for the year.
- The form will include a few additional lines to determine any tax penalty for lack of insurance, a line to claim the premium tax credit, and a line for any adjustment for excessive payments made in advance
- There are new forms
You can go to http://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act in order to learn more.
IRS Tax Scams
The top four scams being:
- Phone calls: These are when a thief calls and poses as the IRS. They make threats if they aren’t paid immediately over the phone by the victim.
- Phishing: Using fake emails or websites that look real to get information.
- Identity theft: They steal a persons identity in order to file a fraudulent tax return in the persons name. For more information on this specific type of fraud you can watch the 60 Minutes video, Biggest IRS Scam around: Identity Tax Refund Fraud
- Return Preparer Fraud: A tax preparer who is dishonest and encouraged fraudulent tax returns.
Here is an educational video from the IRS:
Here are some tips to help you prevent being a victim:
- Use good password habits:
- Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts; and do not have the login and password be the same
- Make passwords a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers, letters, and special characters
- Make sure to change the default passwords on all electronic devices that have WiFi.
- Use a different email address for banking and finance accounts then you do for other online accounts or mailing lists.
- For the “security question” you can usually type any answer that you want. The field is typically a text field. For example if you select “what is your favorite color” you could put the answer as “security question answer 1$”.
- Microsoft has a free password strength tester.
- Use good computer habits:
- Keep virus and spyware software up to date.
- Block all pop up ads.
- Keep software up to date
- Stay away from phishing websites.
- Don’t open an email from someone you don’t know
- Don’t click inside the body of an email that is suspicious
Keep in mind that the IRS initially will send a letter if there is an issue with your tax return.
*Disclaimer: I am not a tax accountant or lawyer. All information and links contained in this post are for information and education. If you have questions about your tax situation contact the IRS or your tax preparer.
Update: 2/9/2016: IRS removed this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-MyJ4Z-tGs and put in another one that described the Affordable Care Act.
IRS Completes the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2015 (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Completes-the-Dirty-Dozen-Tax-Scams-for-2015)
IRS Phone Call Scam (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/irs-phone-call-scam/)
Biggest IRS Scam Around: Identity Tax Refund Fraud (http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/biggest-irs-scam-around-identity-tax-refund-fraud)
Password Computer Safety (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/password-computer-safety/)
Password Checker (https://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx)
Holiday Shopping (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/holiday-shopping/)
Password Strength (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/password-strength/)