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Phishing Scams – Remain Vigilant With Your Personal Data

social security

It’s Tax Time and this year there are several new phishing schemes to try and obtain your personal data during Tax preparation season. One of the newest is a phishing scheme via email, asking you to update your e-services information with the IRS.

The IRS Security Awareness Tax Tip Number 5 reminds us that “E-services will never ask you to do this. If you receive an email or requests like this, do not click on the links or take any other action. It is important to keep in mind the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. Never click on strange emails or links seeking updated information.”

Furthermore and “especially in families that use the same computer, students should be warned against turning off any security software in use or opening any suspicious emails. They should be instructed to never click on embedded links or download attachments of emails from unknown sources.”

For more tips on talking to your family about security online and at home, visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/Talk-to-Your-Family-about-Security-Online-and-at-Home

Tips and pitfalls to avoid in your tax preparations and planning

As we enter the height of tax season, HR Strategies is pleased to once again bring you relevant information from the IRS on tips and pitfalls to avoid in your tax preparations and planning.

‘If you received income during 2012, you may need to file a tax return in 2013. The amount of your income, your filing status, your age and the type of income you received will determine whether you’re required to file. Even if you’ve determined that you don’t need to file a tax return this year, you may still want to file.’ According to the “IRS Tax Tip 2013-01” here are five reasons why:

1. Federal Income Tax Withheld.  If your employer withheld federal income tax from your pay, if you made estimated tax payments, or if you had a prior year overpayment applied to this year’s tax, you could be due a refund. File a return to claim any excess tax you paid during the year.

2. Earned Income Tax Credit.  If you worked but earned less than $50,270 last year, you may qualify for EITC. EITC is a refundable tax credit; which means if you qualify you could receive EITC as a tax refund. Families with qualifying children may qualify to get up to $5,891 dollars. You can’t get the credit unless you file a return and claim it. Use the EITC Assistant to find out if you qualify.

3. Additional Child Tax Credit.  If you have at least one qualifying child and you don’t get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you may qualify for this additional refundable credit. You must file and use new Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, to claim the credit.

4. American Opportunity Credit.  If you or someone you support is a student, you might be eligible for this credit. Students in their first four years of postsecondary education may qualify for as much as $2,500 through this partially refundable credit. Even those who owe no tax can get up to $1,000 of the credit as cash back for each eligible student. You must file Form 8863, Education Credits, and submit it with your tax return to claim the credit.

5. Health Coverage Tax Credit.  If you’re receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, you may be eligible for a 2012 Health Coverage Tax Credit. Spouses and dependents may also be eligible. If you’re eligible, you can receive a 72.5 percent tax credit on payments you made for qualified health insurance premiums.

Source: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Who-Should-File-a-2012-Tax-Return

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