Dun, Dun, Dun… It’s almost tax day. That dreaded day of the year that takes hours of careful thought and preparation to find out how much money you owe the IRS.
So have you filed yet? I did, and I am so excited because for the first time in I can’t remember how long, I am getting a refund. With both my husband and I working freelance for the last several years, even with paying our quarterlies we have always owed. But thanks to a real job for my husband, we cut that pesky self-employment tax in half.
I am thankful for the taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed. ~Nancie J. Carmody
Would winning a $1,000 Visa gift card soften the blow of tax time? I thought so. Did you know you can learn about keeping your personal information private while entering to win a $1,000 grand prize by playing the LifeLock for Life Sweepstakes? Wouldn’t that be nice?! Plus nine runner ups will win a one-year LifeLock membership. So go, play and learn. (PS – you can play a new quiz each week for additional entries.)
10 Tax-Time Tips To Keep Your Identity Protected
Whether you have already filed (congrats) or you are still working on putting everything together to file, here are easy steps you can take to protect your identity at tax time.
- Protect Yourself – When filling our your taxes online, make sure to use an updated firewall, anti-virus and spyware software. It’s easier for identity thieves to get away with your personal and financial information when you’re filing online, since there are no signed tax forms, envelopes and fingerprints. By having a strong computer defense, you can safely go about your e-filing.
- Security Measures – It is your right to know how safe your information is, who has access to it and why. Always ask your tax preparer what kind of security measures they use to protect your personal and financial information.
- Better Business Bureau – Vet your tax preparation company with the Better Business Bureau by visiting your state’s BBB website yourstate.bbb.org before you hand over any personal information.
- Email – Don’t be fooled, the IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email or social media. If you get an email, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org and delete it.
- Public Access – Never use a public or work computer to file your taxes. If anyone gains access to that computer or any computer on that network, they could pull your personal and financial information.
- Delete Extra Copies – If you are using a tax app that requires you to take photos of your W2 forms, be sure to delete images after you use them. The less copies of your W2 there are to keep track of, the easier it is to protect them. You also never know who could gain access to your application.
- Snail Mail – It you file your taxes by mail, make sure you take it directly to the postal office. This will lessen the chance of it getting intercepted on its way to the IRS.
- The Right Help – If you use a tax preparer to help you with your taxes, avoid one that sets fees based on a percentage of your tax refund amount. And steer clear of tax preparers who do not offer to sign your tax return and provide you with a copy for your records.
- The Real Deal – Be careful online. There are a lot of sites that look like they belong to the IRS, but only one that’s the real deal. Leaving your information with the others could be a big mistake.
- Secure Wi-Fi – If you file your taxes online, make sure you are using a secure private network. Filing your taxes on a public network leaves you vulnerable to hackers who pray on people who are using public Wi-Fi for information sensitive transactions.
- Why Protect Your Info – In addition to opening new lines of credit, and possibly snagging your refund, would-be identity thieves could use your personal information to apply for employment thus avoiding paying taxes themselves and making it look like you didn’t report all of your income. Protect yourself!
Get more tips and enter for a chance to win from the LifeLock for Life Sweepstakes on Facebook. You can also follow LifeLock on Twitter and Instagram for regular tips for keeping your information secure.
This is a partnered post as a LifeLock Ambassador. However all opinions are my own.