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Tax Articles

Taxpayers should be aware of Coronavirus-related scams

Taxpayers should be on the lookout for IRS impersonation calls, texts and email phishing attempts about the coronavirus or COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments. These scams can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.

Here’s what taxpayers should know:

  • The IRS will not call, email or text you to verify or request your financial, banking or personal information.
  • Watch out for websites and social media attempts to request money or personal information. The official website is IRS.gov.
  • Don't open surprise emails that look like they’re coming from the IRS or click on attachments or links.
  • Taxpayers should not provide personal or financial information or engage with potential scammers online or over the phone.
  • Forward suspicious emails to phishing@irs.gov, then delete.
  • Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information.

Here’s what people should know about the Economic Impact Payments:

  • The IRS will automatically deposit Economic Impact Payments into the bank account taxpayers provided on their 2019 or 2018 tax return for a direct deposit of their tax refund.
  • Those without a direct deposit account on file may be able to provide their banking information online through a new secure tool, Get My Payment.
  • Anyone who is eligible for an Economic Impact Payment and doesn’t provide direct deposit information will receive a payment mailed to the last address the IRS has on file.
  • The IRS does not charge a fee to issue the payment.

Scammers may:

  • Ask an individual to sign over their Economic Impact Payment check to them.
  • Ask for verification of personal or banking information.
  • Suggest that they can get someone tax refund or Economic Impact Payment faster by working on their behalf.
  • Issue a bogus check, often in an odd amount, then tell a person to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.

Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov. The IRS encourages people to share this information with family and friends. Many people who normally don’t normally file a tax return may not realize they’re eligible for an Economic Impact Payment.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific, individualized tax advice as individual situations will vary. Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., Georgetown Capital and its advisors are not engaged in rendering tax advice.

 

Prepared by the IRS. For more information go to www.irs.gov.

 

All taxpayers should know their rights

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights protects all taxpayers working with the IRS. In fact, they lay out the framework to make sure the IRS fairly and impartially carries out tax administration.

These rights are explained on IRS.gov and in Publication 1, Your Rights As A Taxpayer. They describe what taxpayers can expect if they need to work with the IRS on a personal tax matter, such as:
•Filing a return
•Paying taxes
•Responding to a letter
•Going through an audit
•Appealing an IRS decision

To help taxpayers understand their rights, here they are, along with links where people can go for more information.

1.The right to be informed
2.The right to quality service
3.The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax
4.The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard 
5.The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum
6.The right to finality
7.The right to privacy
8.The right to confidentiality
9.The right to retain representation
10.The right to a fair and just tax system

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific, individualized tax advice as individual situations will vary.  Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., Georgetown Capital and its advisors are not engaged in rendering tax advice.

Prepared by the IRS.  For more information go to www.irs.gov.

Taxpayers can minimize the effects of data theft with these steps

Every day, the theft of personal and financial information puts people at risk of additional problems. Thieves often use the stolen data as quickly as possible to:

  • Sell the information to other criminals.
  • Withdraw money from a bank account.
  • Make credit card purchases.
  • File a fraudulent tax return for a refund using a victim’s name.

Victims of a data loss should follow these steps to minimize the effect of the theft:

  • Determine what information the thieves compromised. This may include emails and passwords or more sensitive data, such as name and Social Security number.
  • Take advantage of credit monitoring services. When an organization or company is affected by a data theft, they will often offer these services.
  • Place a freeze on credit accounts. This will prevent the thieves getting access to a victim’s credit records. There may be a fee to place a freeze on an account, and it varies by state. At a minimum, victims should place a fraud alert on their credit accounts by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert isn’t as secure as a freeze, but it’s free.
  • Reset passwords on online accounts. This includes financial sites, email accounts and social media accounts. People should use different passwords for each account. If possible, users should create passwords that are at least 10-digit passwords. People should mix letters, numbers and special characters when possible. Victims should consider using a password manager or app.
  • Use multi-factor authentication if available. Some financial institutions, email providers and social media sites allow users to set their accounts for multi-factor authentication. This requires a security code, usually sent as a text to their mobile phone, in addition to a username and password.

 This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific, individualized tax advice as individual situations will vary. Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., Georgetown Capital and its advisors are not engaged in rendering tax advice.

Prepared by the IRS. For more information go to www.irs.gov.