If you are not expecting a nice big refund on your tax return, you still want to file your taxes as soon as possible. This time of year, we start getting a lot of phone calls regarding identity theft, rejected tax returns, and missing refunds. The general story is almost always the same:
Jane files her tax return on April 1st. She gets a response back from the IRS that her tax return has been rejected because it has already been filed. Jane knows that she hasn’t already filed her tax return and starts investigating.
She finds out that someone else has filed using her social security number and likely bogus income/deduction numbers that resulted in a mid-size refund back to the scammer’s bank account. Before the whole thing can be tracked down, the scammers are gone with the refund and Jane is left with a mess to resolve with the IRS.
There’s a second part to these stories. Once we find out that the tax return is rejected, we recommend that the victim get a credit report for all family members. At that point, there is often identity theft involving new lines of credit, new car loans, or other accounts that family members have no idea existed.
Another reason to worry this year: Equifax.
I’ve done some writing on the Equifax data breach over the past few months. One big reason to especially worry this year is because of the Equifax data breach. We have no idea who has access to social security numbers and other identifying information. Filing your tax return as soon as you are able cuts off some of the risk of falling victim to this scam.
This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you have questions about your rights when it comes to debt and credit, you should speak with an attorney in your area for legal advice. If you live in California or North Dakota and would like to speak with Jen Lee Law regarding your situation, please schedule an appointment on our scheduling site.