Big data breaches last year may affect when you should be filing your tax return this year. Some experts are warning that more identity thieves may try to file a bogus return using your information all in an effort to collect a refund.
“Unfortunately for consumers, tax return fraud is not going to go away anytime soon,” says Kelli Grant from CNBC.
Grant told NBC reporters that “in most cases, we’re hearing that thieves e-filing. They’re just doing this in bulk, massive amounts of returns and they know a lot of these are going to get rejected, they’re going to be caught by the IRS.”
And while more security measures are being put into place this year, the issue may be the returns the IRS doesn’t catch. That’s why some recommend filing your return as soon as possible, maybe even by the end of this week. “Try to get all of that done so that as soon as you have all of your W-2’s, 1099’s, all of that in hand, you can file right away,” said Grant.
Tobie Stanger from Consumer Reports agrees. “One thing that we recommend is once you have all your paperwork in hand is to file as soon as possible,” she told NBC.
The IRS does say that four out of five returns this year are expected to be filed electronically and that online tax software may be beneficial to a majority of taxpayers who should be able to file their own taxes. The IRS says that about 70 percent of taxpayers (those with incomes under $62,000) are eligible for free e-file. Officials suggest going to the IRS website and picking a tax preparer that way. “The IRS has vetted all of these companies and even for those who can’t free e-file, you can find a preparer that again has been cleared by the IRS,” said Stanger.