The IRS receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes or notices claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. Many of these scams fraudulently use the Internal Revenue Service name or logo as a lure to make the communication more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scams – known as phishing – is to trick you into revealing personal and financial information. The scammers can then use that information – like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers – to commit identity theft or steal your money.
Here are five things the IRS wants you to know about phishing scams:
- The IRS doesn’t ask for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
- The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail and won’t send a message about your tax account. If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be the IRS or directing you to an IRS site:
The address of the official IRS website is http://www.irs.gov. Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. If you discover a website that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus, do not provide any personal information on the suspicious site and report it to the IRS.
If you receive a phone call, fax or letter in the mail from an individual claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the IRS has a legitimate need to contact you. Report any bogus correspondence.
You can help shut down these schemes and prevent others from being victimized. Details on how to report specific types of scams and what to do if you’ve been victimized are available at http://www.irs.gov, keyword “phishing.”
- Do not reply to the message.
- Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
- Do not click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious e-mail or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website and enter the search term ‘identity theft’ for more information and resources to help.
If you’ve changed your home or business address, make sure you update that information with the IRS to ensure you receive any refunds or correspondence. The IRS offers five tips for taxpayers that have moved or are about to move:
- Change Your IRS Address Records You can change your address on file with the IRS in several ways:
Notify Your Employer Be sure to also notify your employer of your new address so you get your W-2 forms on time.
Notify the Post Office If you change your address after you’ve filed your return, don’t forget to notify the post office at your old address so your mail can be forwarded.
Estimated Tax Payments If you make estimated tax payments throughout the year, you should mail a completed Form 8822, Change of Address, or write the IRS campus where you file your return. You may continue to use your old pre-printed payment vouchers until the IRS sends you new ones with your new address. However, do not correct the address on the old voucher.
Postal Service The IRS does use the Postal Service’s change of address files to update taxpayer addresses, but it’s still a good idea to notify the IRS directly.
- Write the new address in the appropriate boxes on your tax return;
- Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to submit an address or name change any time during the year;
- Give the IRS written notification of your new address by writing to the IRS center where you file your return. Include your full name, old and new addresses, Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number and signature. If you filed a joint return, be sure to include the information for both taxpayers. If you filed a joint return and have since established separate residences, each spouse should notify the IRS of their new address; and
- Should an IRS employee contact you about your account, you may be able to verbally provide a change of address.
Visit http://www.irs.gov for more information about changing your address. At http://www.irs.gov, you can also find the address of the IRS center where you file your tax return or download Form 8822. For a detailed Moving Guide from NFS, please request one here.
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Get Credit for Your Retirement Savings Contributions
You may be eligible for a tax credit if you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement. Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about the Savers Credit:
- Income Limits The Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, applies to individuals with a filing status and income of:
Eligibility requirements To be eligible for the credit you must have been born before January 2, 1992, you cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return.
Credit amount If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.
Distributions When figuring this credit, you generally must subtract the amount of distributions you have received from your retirement plans from the contributions you have made. This rule applies to distributions received in the two years before the year the credit is claimed, the year the credit is claimed, and the period after the end of the credit year but before the due date – including extensions – for filing the return for the credit year.
Other tax benefits The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA. Contributions to a regular 401(k) plan are not subject to income tax until withdrawn from the plan.
Forms to use To claim the credit use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.
- Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to $27,750
- Head of Household with income up to $41,625
- Married Filing Jointly, with incomes up to $55,500
For more information, review IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Publication 4703, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, and Form 8880.