Chat
Loans By Phone: (800) 404-0254

Protecting Yourself from Tax Theft

Well if you haven’t already done your taxes, today is the day. Post offices around the country and keeping their doors open until midnight so that tax payers can get their returns stamped in time to avoid any late payment penalties. If you haven’t done your taxes yet and don’t feel comfortable doing them yourself, it’s not too late to stop by any Check City location to have one of our tax professionals help you out. In the spirit of tax season we wanted to cover a topic that is new to a lot of people, but is definitely something you need to watch out for this tax season. It may come as a surprise to some, but as the world continues to move towards online services and tech, so do the criminals.

Last year one of the major street gangs in Miami was brought down for a crime that is sweeping the nation and bringing in billions of dollars for criminals that are able to successfully pull it off. But it was not a new drug or imported weapon that is making these gangs rich, it is our taxes.

Tax Theft is on the Rise

Tax return theft has become one of the major crimes of the past few years with the number of reported instances tripling since 2010. Every year, millions of Americans fall victim to these evolving criminals and have their tax returns stolen, exposing them to a grueling process of retribution and a seemingly endless road to recovery.

With the coming of the electronic age, criminals have successfully engineered a way to merge identity theft and tax theft to produce their ability to file fraudulent tax return claims in the names of their victims. With the understanding that a claim on a return of over $9,000 dollars will cause red flags in the IRS, criminals routinely target hundreds of individuals and file fraudulently tax returns in order to strike it rich.

The criminals and criminal organizations that enact these instances of tax fraud are extremely well versed in their crime and are very effective at its execution, which means that everyday people need to start doing more in order to protect themselves from the onslaught of tax return thieves. Luckily, there are several precautions and steps of safety that people can take to ensure that they are not one of the millions of victims this tax season.

Tips for Avoiding Tax Theft

First and foremost, the primary way in which criminals are able to pull off their tax return fraud is through securing individuals Social Security numbers and committing identity theft. So those who are able to protect their personal information are far less likely to fall victim to tax return thieves.

People should especially be cautious concerning their Social Security number, as this is the typical way in which a criminal will be able to steal a person’s identity. Keeping your Social Security card in your wallet is an extremely bad idea as a simple pick pocket could turn into a huge headache if the criminal uses your Social Security number to file a false tax return or access your bank account.

Know Your Tax Professional

Next, you will be able to protect yourself from all forms of tax fraud if you have a good and trustable relationship with the person who prepares your taxes. Walking into a random office and going over your personal and tax information with a stranger is opening yourself up for crime, so instead consider asking friends and relatives for suggestions on who they see to help file their taxes and go with someone you trust.

Beef Up Your Security

Finally, you can beef up your electronic security by adding access codes to all accounts and devices, as well as changing these codes and passwords regularly. By enacting a few of the above changes, you will be able to safely file and receive your tax return.

Most Frequent Tax Mistakes

We all know that your greatest fear is to wake up and find an ugly man from the IRS hovering over you just ready to make your life a living nightmare. If this is something that you definitely don’t want to happen the listen up! Tax laws can be like rocket science in complexity and everyone can make mistakes. Here are some tax mistakes that the tax experts at Check City see a lot of people make when they try to do their taxes on their own.

Unemployment Benefits

You may have been out of a job for that year but you might still be getting unemployment benefits. If this is you, you still need to be paying taxes on your income. The IRS considers it wage income and that is just the way it goes.

Divorce

This may have been an even worse year for you as you had to end your marriage. You may get a good settlement with regular checks coming in from your ex but if you forget to pay taxes on them, you are wrong! If it is just child support money, it isn’t taxable. The thing that you need to pay taxes on is the alimony. If you are the one paying the alimony, there is some good news! Those checks are all tax deductible.

Debt forgiveness

You may have been told that your credit card bill has been cut in half. Well congratulations! You now have much less worrying to do, but before you start doing your victory dance, make sure you have your taxes in order. That’s right! To the IRS, you just earned some money, so make sure you are paying taxes on it. This is not always true as some have received debt forgiveness that is not taxable.

Prizes

Hurray, you just won $10,000! What are you going to do next? Before you say, “Im going to Disneyland” you should probably put some of that aside for taxes because when you win so does Uncle Sam. Winnings are considered another form of income and this isn’t just in reference to cash prizes either. You will have to pay taxes on any property you win based off market value.

Social Security

You might be saying to yourself right now, “you are kidding me right! I paid social security taxes for years as I slaved away at my job and this is what I get in return, more taxes?!” Before you strain your milk you need to know that this is not required of everyone. If your sole income is from social security then it is tax deductible. If you have another income on the side though, you may end up paying as much as 85% on all of those government checks. That is just the way the cookie crumbles.

Make sure you are keeping all of your ducks in a row and understand what needs to be taxed and what you don’t have to pay taxes on. As the old sage once said “knowledge is power, especially when you are dealing with the IRS”. Keep things in order and get on top of it all by starting your taxes early this year!

Do Not Leave Thousands of Dollars on the Table This Tax Season

1 in 5 eligible people fail to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is like leaving thousands of dollars on the table!

The federal government has been siphoning money out of your paychecks all year long. It’s up to you to fight for as much of that cash as you can. You hunt down all the deductions and credits you can find—if there’s any way you can reduce your taxable income (legally, or course), you’ll find it.

Yet millions of people are just letting the IRS keep the money that they rightfully deserve back. In fact, 1 in 5 people miss the biggest tax credit of them all: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

You’re entitled to some of your money back, and that’s what getting a fat tax refund is about. The EITC could single-handedly double or triple your refund, so don’t let it slip away if you can help it.

Get a bigger refund with the EITC

The EITC could translate into quite a big chunk of change. It’s been helping ease the tax burden of working class families for quite a while: the EITC first started back in 1975.
In 2013, the average credit was $2,200, but for this year it could be worth as much as $6,143! With the EITC, it’s even possible to get a larger refund than the amount that’s already been withheld from your wages.

How much money can I get back with the EITC?

The amount you get back is based on your income and number of dependents. The more eligible children or dependents you can claim (up to 3), the bigger the credit. For example, here are the maximum credit amounts for:

  • A family with 3 qualifying dependents: $6,143
  • A family with 2 qualifying dependents: $5,460
  • A family with 1 qualifying dependent: $3,305
  • A family with no dependents: $496

That kind of money could make a huge difference in the lives of millions of Americans, if they only know how to get it.

Am I eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit?

If you are married, you have to file jointly to be eligible for the EITC, but a single person can be eligible as well. Your earned income and adjusted gross income must be lower than the following:

  • $46,997 ($52,427 married filing jointly) with 3 dependents
  • $43,756 ($49,186 married filing jointly) with 2 dependents
  • $38,511 ($43,941 married filing jointly) with 1 dependent
  • $14,590 ($20,020 married filing jointly) with no dependents

How can I make sure I’m eligible?

The IRS has made a point of going after fraudulent claims for the EITC, so you need to be certain that your income is correctly reported and that your children qualify as dependents. The IRS’s website, www.irs.gov, provides a helpful tool called the EITC Assistant which can help you determine your eligibility.

The best way to make sure you’re eligible for the EITC is to meet with a tax professional. Don’t be afraid to claim this fat tax credit! Call Check City today and find out how our tax professionals can help you get the biggest refund possible!

Top 4 things every tax payer forgets

Every year, taxes come around and just one little thing was forgotten. These little things tend to actually make a big difference, and it’s a good idea to get a head start on your taxes now while you still have time to correct any accidental mistakes. Here are a few of the most commonly made mistakes. If you’re not sure if any of these apply to you, remember that there are trained tax professionals at all of our Check City locations can help.

Unemployment

If you have been released from a position within the past year and have been receiving unemployment benefits in compensation for a lack of salary, a portion of that is still considered taxable. There are two ways to avoid the shock when taxes come around. Before you receive any benefits you can opt to automatically lose 10 percent of every check to the IRS by filling out a Voluntary Withholding Request (W-4V). If, when the time comes, you don’t feel that you can part with all of the tax money you owe from unemployment, you can pay estimated taxes.

Alimony

Often with the stress of divorce, taxes seem like little to no importance and you forget that the alimony you receive must also go towards taxes. To prevent all of your alimony and other untaxed income to go to the IRS in a big chunk in April, look into estimated tax filings. If you also receive child support in addition to your alimony, those are not taxable and you do not have to worry about losing a cent of it to the IRS.

Prize Winnings

How fair would it be if you won a competition and got all of the prize money? Well, it does seem fair but the IRS doesn’t play that way. That money is still considered taxable, and in all the hubbub you are likely to forget how much of it you are really due. This also applies to any property you win, and you have to pay taxes on the fair market value of it. Whoever you won the prize from will give you a form declaring how much the prize is worth and you must report it in your taxes. If you are caught underreporting what you earned, you will most likely become subject to an investigation.

Money earned from gambling is taxable as well, however you can subtract any losses you may have sustained gambling from your winnings, which may even out how much you have to pay in taxes.

Social Security Benefits

If you are receiving Social Security benefits as the only source of your income, you have nothing to worry about and the money isn’t taxable. But if you have another source of income, those benefits are considered fair game to the IRS. They can tax up to 85 percent of your Social Security
checks. Much like the unemployment checks, you have two options. Either automatically have the tax money deducted from the check when you get it, or pay estimated tax payments.

If you have any questions about your taxes and how much you owe, talk to a professional. All of our Check City locations offer tax services so don’t be the one to make the mistake that will cost you big time when tax season comes around.

NEED QUICK CASH?

start your application

* Required Field

 

  • HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.
  • Cashwise
  • RLS
  • Check City BBB Business Review
  • CFSA
  • UCLA

Apply Now Or Call 1-800-404-0254

Find A Location | Contact Us | Wireless Policy | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | © 2004-2019 Check City Online. All Rights Reserved.