Posts Tagged ‘tax season’


Five Scams to Watch Out for During Tax Season

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016


Getting your tax information sorted and filed conjures up enough stress in itself, and when you add the potential of being scammed by opportunistic thieves, tax season becomes even more daunting. Awareness is key; take a look at the most common scams thieves use during the tax season and protect yourself and your family from the efforts of opportunistic con artists.

1. Identity Theft
Let’s start with the largest threat—identity theft. You might hate filing your taxes, but a scammer would love to get ahold of your information and file them for you, then reap the rewards of your tax return. By filing early, you can better avoid this issue. Within this scam, con artists will steal your personal information, like your social security number, then file a tax return under your name. Most people affected by this scam don’t realize what has happened until after they actually file and the IRS lets them know one has already been filed. In 2013 alone, the IRS claims to have thwarted 14.6 million attempts at fraudulent returns, resulting in an excess of $15 billion in refunds. Protect your social security number, and don’t give out any sensitive information unless you’re using a professional tax preparer or registered tax filing system.

2. A Shady Email
The IRS won’t email you, let’s just get that out there right away. Very few cases see IRS agents sending important information to your personal email account, so any message received claiming to be from the government agency should be regarded with suspicion. Recent scams that capitalize on email captures have asked taxpayers to update sensitive information on their tax portal—a fake but convincing feature on a website of the scammer’s making. Always make sure any website regarding IRS dealings begins with Scammers may use variations in order to make their site seem more legitimate, so tread carefully.

3. A Call from the IRS
An unexpected call from the IRS can have you shaking in your boots, but the government agency warns that these calls can’t always be taken at their word. In recent years, the IRS has noted an increasing trend of scam phone calls looking to swindle taxpayers out of their sensitive information. These scammers can convincingly pose as IRS agents; some skilled scammers have been able to hack the phone number so that it looks as if the call is coming from a registered IRS number. These so-called agents will ask for multitudes of sensitive information—if an individual isn’t easy to sway, they may be slapped with threats of audits, tax levies, and even jail time. These scams are usually highly sophisticated, and it can be tough to determine whether the caller is a scam artist or actual government agent. Should this situation happen to you, call the IRS and get confirmation of the agent who has been calling you.

4. Miracle Return Offers
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—especially when it comes to lofty promises of inflated tax returns. If someone offers to help you file in order to gain you a higher return, and they don’t ask to see your records, run away as quickly as possible. Never sign a blank tax form—this is a clear indication the individual in question is attempting to scam you. Use a certified and trusted tax filing service or the help of a professional from a company like CTax to ensure your information stays safe and you do everything by the book with the IRS—no one wants to land in hot water with the government.

5. A Charity Scam
It’s a sad fact, but those looking for donations to nonprofit organizations and charities don’t always have well-meaning intentions. If you’re approached by a nonprofit or similar charitable organization, especially during tax season, make sure you do your research. These scammers are cunning; the websites may look completely legitimate. For an easy safeguard against these types of scams, always be sure the charity is listed as a 501(c)(3) before donating. There are many scammers prepared to target hardworking taxpayers, and if you want to keep your personal information and assets protected, it’s essential to remain aware of the potential for scams.

If you need help filing your taxes before the April 15th deadline, let TalkLocal help you find a local tax professional.

4 Tax Season Tips for Entrepreneurs

Sunday, March 29th, 2015


Once again, the season is changing and so is your small business’ bank balance. Tax time is here, and you’re probably fretting over your quarterly payment. If this is a struggle for you every three months, you may want to look into ways to make filing your business’s taxes easier. Here are four of the most popular tips.

Get In Touch with a CPA

You wouldn’t try to give yourself a dental checkup or a legal consultation; what’s so different about filing your taxes? Unless you have accounting skills or an unusually simple tax situation, hiring a professional could save you time and money. Find a CPA whose prices and services fit your business; they deal with these issues for a living. TalkLocal may help you find an available CPA in your area.

Find Software that Works for You

Quickbooks is a lifesaver for many small business owners, but fear not if it isn’t your style – their monopoly on tax software is no more. Shop around for an electronic organizer that works for you; some of the biggest newcomers to the market include Xero and FreshBooks.

Keep Expenses Organized

Nobody’s perfect; chances are you’ve probably forgotten to use the company card or get a receipt for some purchase. Unfortunately, every time this happens your future taxes get a little more annoying. Keep track of your expenditures and double-check them with your bank account(s) occasionally. If you’re drowning in receipts and invoices, scan and file them electronically so that retrieval is a click away.

Stash Tax Money Ahead of Time

Too many entrepreneurs get themselves in a bind by putting off their tax planning until it’s time to pay. There are two main ways to prepare for taxes in advance: budget for your business’ total taxes over a given period of time or immediately set aside the government’s cut every time you receive a payment. One or both of these methods could save you a lot of stress on April 15.

Nobody looks forward to tax season (except maybe the aforementioned CPA’s). However, many small business owners make it harder than it needs to be by not using all the tools and strategies at their disposal. Follow our tips and you might actually be able to enjoy the beginning of spring, instead of spending it hunched over IRS forms with a calculator.