This weekend Tim and I will be filing taxes online. Have you filed yours, yet? You still have a bit of time, but I think the sooner you can rip that band-aid off, the sooner you can start to feel a little bit better.
Proud to be an American
On the one hand, I don’t mind paying my taxes at all. I am happy to make my contribution to the greater good in this country. I’m grateful for reliable infrastructure in my home, on my street, in my city, and all over this country. Those things cost money! I use those things, so I should help pay for those things.
On the other hand, I feel like this about paying taxes:
This is largely because the income I contribute to my family is from freelance work, and when I get paid, the taxes haven’t been taken out. I have to pay them at tax time. I wish I could tell you that I was extremely disciplined and squirreled away every cent I would need to pay later. But I haven’t. I think I have about half of what I need saved up. The other half is going to come straight out of savings. I hardly even remember what it is like to get a refund check. I’m one of the folks who owes quite a bit this time of year. Even though I am willing to pay what I owe, it puts me in grouchy mood, to say the least!
Death and Taxes…Both Certain, Both Annoying
Whether you anticipate getting a refund or writing a check this year, filing taxes is still a pain in the rear. Even the EZ file for those of you with very uncomplicated tax prep needs still requires you to take a little bit of time and submit all of your information. For those of us who itemize, have small businesses, or just a lot of different assets or deductions to claim, filing can take hours and hours.
So just imagine how much insult would be added to the injury if your identity was stolen as a result of filing your taxes online. Wouldn’t that be INFURIATING??!!
It’s happening. A LOT. Just think about all the sensitive information you have to provide in order to file your taxes. I’m not saying that filing online is a bad idea. Not at all! That’s how I’ve filed for the last 8 or 9 years and it is how I’ll be filing this year. BUT…you do need to take some precautions!
How to Prevent Identity Theft While Filing Taxes Online
1. Go with a reputable company. Make sure you are using a reputable tax preparation service. I happen to use Turbo Tax. Many others use H&R Block. And there are other reputable options out there, as well. Please don’t use something you’ve never heard of or that you can’t find strong recommendations for online. You can also use the IRS website for filing. Make absolutely sure that you are on the official IRS website and not some other URL trying to make you think it is the right spot.
2. Software check. Ensure that your virus protection software is updated and turned on. Even the best anti-virus system does you absolutely no good if it isn’t running!
3. File only from a secure network. Do not file from a public setting. You can never be certain about the security level of the network other than one you have set up. Remember, you are sending out your social security number, so you need to be EXTRA careful about it.
4. Be wary of tax-related emails. Do not respond to unsolicited emails from the IRS. The IRS NEVER EVER initiates contact with taxpayers via email. So if you get an “IRS” email informing you of great new rebate offers, or even of missing information, DO NOT respond to it. It is a scam.
5. Enroll in a identity theft protection service such as LifeLock. I receive monthly updates from this company, as well as alerts if anything suspicious is happening with my accounts. LifeLock can alert you very quickly to any problems that may have occurred. This is an extra measure of peace of mind, not just during tax prep time, but all year long.
Is anyone else out there going to be writing a check this year for taxes? Anyone else out there NOT IMPRESSED by having to do it? Tell me I’m not alone! Or if you are getting a refund, go ahead and brag…I’ll celebrate with you since I can’t celebrate the same outcome for myself! Are you filing taxes online or taking a different route?
I am a compensated ambassador for LifeLock. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are strictly my own.