Crucial Tax Deadline Stressed by IRS to Help Americans Avoid Scams

The Internal Revenue Service released a statement earlier this week.

This was to remind American employers and employees that January 31 is the deadline for the submission of wage statements and W-2 forms by employers; whereas workers ought to know about it to be able to protect themselves from common tax refund scams.

Beware of Tax Refund Scammers

In its reminder, the IRS noted that W-2 and W-3 forms for the 2022 tax year had to be submitted by employers to the Social Security Administration (SSA) up until January 31, for both paper and electronic filings, the Epoch Times reported.

The tax authority emphasized that observing the deadline helped prevent tax fraud, late-filing fines for employers, and delays on employees’ income tax returns.

The report explained if the IRS had accurate data about taxpayers’ employment and income, it could swiftly verify information reported subsequently on tax returns.

That allows the tax authority to identify fraudsters who try to use stolen personal info to file fake tax returns and get fraudulent refunds.

Another IRS deadline, which was also on January 31, was the one for submitting Forms 1099-NEC. These are filed by businesses to report non-employee payments to independent contractors.

The report notes that tax professionals typically advise taxpayers to file their returns immediately after getting their W-2 forms, as well as other wage documents so they could beat possible scammers.

It is noted that fraudsters tend to wait until after the January 31 deadline is expired. Then, they go ahead and submit fraudulent forms claiming tax refunds.

They hope the Internal Revenue Service might not have enough time to verify the data on the returns. That way, the criminals have better chances of getting fraudulent refunds before the IRS manages to detect the fraud attempt.

What to Do If You Fall Prey to Tax Fraudsters and Identity Theft

Besides that, fraudsters steal personal information from W-2 forms and use it for filing false returns.

The report stresses that scams with tax returns usually contain stolen Social Security Numbers (SSN) because it is the main identifier for taxpayers. That is why the IRS urges taxpayers not to share their SNN widely.

It is also noted that a taxpayer may not be aware that he or she has been affected by identity theft. That’s until the IRS sends him or her a message that there might be a return issue or until the taxpayer cannot file the return electronically, due to a duplicate SSN.

Taxpayers could also become aware they had fallen pretty to tax scammers if they receive a mailed tax transcript that they never requested.

In cases when a taxpayer sees his or her e-filed return rejected due to a duplicate filing with their SSN, the IRS says the taxpayer should fill out an Identity Theft Affidavit, which is Form 14039.

The form has to be printed out and mailed in accordance with the attached instructions.

The tax authority also recommends those suspecting they may have become the victim of fraud and identity theft to still file a tax return and pay their taxes, through paper, if necessary.

Another option that victims have would be to visit and report their problems. If they choose so, the website can send an affidavit to the IRS, which would them start investigating the problematic case.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.