Tax experts urge filers to remain vigilant against fraudulent activity

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – According to the Internal Revenue Service, we are just days away from the official start of tax season.

On January 24, the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2021 individual tax returns. This year there are a few changes and you should be on your toes to protect your identity.

At this time of year, it’s crucial to check off the right boxes on tax documents as taxpayers prepare to file their annual returns.

“Spend wisely is all I can say,” said Anquinette McDonald, an early reporter.

Besides spending wisely, tax professionals sing the same tune of being wise when sharing your personal information, such as social security numbers, birth certificates, and even addresses.

“Clients should seek out what they call ghost tax preparers,” Shaccara McNair said. “These are tax preparers who say they can do your taxes, but they don’t have PTINs or anything aligned with IRS credentials, which are needed to file taxes. .”

Over the past 16 years, Shaccara, with Excellent tax pros in Hattiesburg, specialized in tax returns. During those years, she and her business partner, Stephanie McNair, became vigilant of fraudulent activity.

For the past 16 years, Shaccara McNair with Excellent Tax Pros has filed taxes for individuals. During these years, she and her business partner have become vigilant against fraudulent activity.(wdam)

“One of the red flags that strikes me the most is when you don’t have a copy of your documents,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie said there should never be any hidden fees.

“In choosing the right person, you have to realize that you are giving your whole life to someone. It has to be someone you really trust,” Stephanie said.

Everything about your taxes should be in black and white, from how much you get back to what your tax preparer charges for services.

“When we do taxes, we have a bank statement. It has the amount before any charges are taken and this is the amount you will use to look up the IRS.gov. At the bottom of this sheet will also be the actual amount you will get back once the fees are withdrawn,” Stephanie said.

When you file your taxes, there are five different filing statuses according to the IRS:

  • Only,
  • Married filing jointly,
  • Groom filing separately,
  • head of household and
  • Eligible widow with dependent child.

Before filing, you must have all the important documents. Most importantly, but not limited to, proof of identity; Social security cards for you, your spouse and dependents and all 2021 wage and salary statements (W2).

Stephanie McNair of Excellent Tax Pros said there should never be any hidden fees.
Stephanie McNair of Excellent Tax Pros said there should never be any hidden fees.(wdam)

Shaccarra added that you should also be on the lookout for important documents in the mail.

“You pick up two forms in the mail. There will be one for the child tax credit payment and there will also be one for the economic impact payment. This was the third round of the $1,400 you received for you and your dependant. Please don’t throw these letters away, you will also need to bring them to the file and once you receive them you should be good to go,” Shaccara said.

These two payments were part of President Biden’s program US rescue plan to help families get back on their feet during the pandemic.

“Just during the pandemic there was a lot going on and we needed extra money, so we took advantage of that and got it,” Mcdonald said as she filed her taxes.

At this time of year, it's crucial to tick the right boxes on tax documents as taxpayers...
At this time of year, it’s crucial to check off the right boxes on tax documents as taxpayers prepare to file their annual returns.(wdam)

From July to December 2021, many parents, like McDonald’s, received half of their Child Tax Credit advance payment to keep them afloat during the tough times of the past year.

Tax preparers want filers to remember that if they received these payments, they will only see the other half of the CTC amount on their refund.

“It went from $2,000 to $3,600 if the child is under five, and if the child is over five, it was still $3,000. So what they did was give you six months of payments, but you still have to pay six more months. But those who didn’t opt ​​out will still get a raise,” Stephanie said.

Online filing is an option, but tax preparers insist people need to be extra careful.

According to the IRS, electronic filing and selecting direct deposit will expedite receiving your refund.

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