Discover How To Spot And Avoid Tax scams And Identity Theft During Tax Season

It's that time of year and it's almost tax season here in Washington State.

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Use These Five Tips In Washington State To Avoid Getting Your Taxes Scammed.

Luckily we don't have state income tax in Washington but we do have to file a Federal tax return.

It can be a daunting task if it's your first year filing taxes but I want to make it easier for you to be aware of some common tax scams that scammers are willing to do to get to your refund.

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Here Are Five Tax Scams To Be Aware Of When Filing Your Taxes In WA State:

1) Know what the IRS will (and won't) do:

One of the most common types of tax scams is when someone posing as an IRS agent contacts you and demands payment for back taxes or penalties. Remember that the real IRS will never call you out of the blue like this - they always send letters first. The real IRS also won't ask for payment via wire transfer or prepaid debit card. If someone calls claiming to be from the IRS and asks for money right away, hang up and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

2) Secure your personal information:

Another way scammers can steal your money or identity is through phishing emails or fake websites that ask for personal information like your Social Security number or bank account details. Always be cautious about opening emails or clicking links from unknown senders, especially if they claim to be related to the IRS. And never give out sensitive information unless you're sure it's a legitimate request.

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3) Use reputable tax preparation services:

If you use a professional service to help prepare your taxes, make sure they have a good reputation and are licensed by the state of Washington. Some scammers pose as tax preparers themselves, collecting fees upfront and then disappearing without actually filing any returns. Do your research before handing over your financial information to anyone.

4) Don't fall for promises of big refunds:

One red flag to watch out for when dealing with tax preparers is if they promise you an unusually large refund without asking many questions about your income or expenses. These "too good to be true" offers are often a sign that the preparer is committing fraud, either by claiming false deductions or credits or by stealing some of your refund for themselves.

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Sara Robinson
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5) Stay vigilant year-round:

Finally, remember that tax scams can happen at any time of the year, not just during tax season. Be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls, or letters that claim to be from the IRS or other government agencies. If you're ever unsure whether a request is legitimate, don't hesitate to double-check with the agency directly before taking any action.

I get it, taxes can be confusing so hopefully, these tips are helpful. The biggest takeaway is that the IRS will NEVER ask for gift cards and debit cards to pay off your taxes or to get your refund.

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