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Prepayment of Property Taxes in 2017

The Internal Revenue Service offered a very timely warning to tax professionals and taxpayers who are scrambling to prepay property taxes in 2017: To be deductible, the taxes must not only have been paid by the taxpayer, they must also have been properly assessed by the local jurisdiction.

Noting that it has received a number of questions for tax professionals, the IRS issued IR-2017-2010 late on Wednesday to clarify some of the issues surrounding the state and local property tax deduction.

The recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will reduce the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted to just $10,000, and specifically disallows prepaying state and local income taxes. It leaves open the possibility of prepaying property taxes, which has led many to scramble to make payments in 2017 in hopes of claiming them on their next tax return.

The IRS Advisory pointed out an important hurdle for them, however: “A prepayment of anticipated real property taxes that have not been assessed prior to 2018 are not deductible in 2017,” it warned. “State or local law determines whether and when a property tax is assessed, which is generally when the taxpayer becomes liable for the property tax imposed.”

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Tax Reform Update!!!

Congress is enacting the biggest tax reform law in thirty years, one that will make fundamental changes in the way you, your family and your business calculate your federal income tax bill, and the amount of federal tax you will pay. Since most of the changes will go into effect next year, there’s still a narrow window of time before year-end to soften or avoid the impact of crackdowns and to best position yourself for the tax breaks that may be heading your way. Here’s a quick rundown of last-minute moves you should think about making.

Lower tax rates coming. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will reduce tax rates for many taxpayers, effective for the 2018 tax year. Additionally, many businesses, including those operated as passthroughs, such as partnerships, may see their tax bills cut.

The general plan of action to take advantage of lower tax rates next year is to defer income into next year. Some possibilities follow:

. . . If you are about to convert a regular IRA to a Roth IRA, postpone your move until next year. That way you’ll defer income from the conversion until next year and have it taxed at lower rates.

. . . Earlier this year, you may have already converted a regular IRA to a Roth IRA but now you question the wisdom of that move, as the tax on the conversion will be subject to a lower tax rate next year. You can unwind the conversion to the Roth IRA by doing a recharacterization-making a trustee-to-trustee transfer from the Roth to a regular IRA. This way, the original conversion to a Roth IRA will be cancelled out. But you must complete the recharacterization before year-end. Starting next year, you won’t be able to use a recharacterization to unwind a regular-IRA-to-Roth-IRA conversion.

. . . If you run a business that renders services and operates on the cash basis, the income you earn isn’t taxed until your clients or patients pay. So if you hold off on billings until next year-or until so late in the year that no payment will likely be received this year-you will likely succeed in deferring income until next year.

. . . If your business is on the accrual basis, deferral of income till next year is difficult but not impossible. For example, you might, with due regard to business considerations, be able to postpone completion of a last-minute job until 2018, or defer deliveries of merchandise until next year (if doing so won’t upset your customers). Taking one or more of these steps would postpone your right to payment, and the income from the job or the merchandise, until next year. Keep in mind that the rules in this area are complex and may require a tax professional’s input.

. . . The reduction or cancellation of debt generally results in taxable income to the debtor. So if you are planning to make a deal with creditors involving debt reduction, consider postponing action until January to defer any debt cancellation income into 2018.

Disappearing or reduced deductions, larger standard deduction. Beginning next year, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspends or reduces many popular tax deductions in exchange for a larger standard deduction. Here’s what you can do about this right now:

• Individuals (as opposed to businesses) will only be able to claim an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 ($5,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return) for the total of (1) state and local property taxes; and (2) state and local income taxes. To avoid this limitation, pay the last installment of estimated state and local taxes for 2017 no later than Dec. 31, 2017, rather than on the 2018 due date. But don’t prepay in 2017 a state income tax bill that will be imposed next year – Congress says such a prepayment won’t be deductible in 2017. However, Congress only forbade prepayments for state income taxes, not property taxes, so a prepayment on or before Dec. 31, 2017, of a 2018 property tax installment is apparently OK.

• The itemized deduction for charitable contributions won’t be chopped. But because most other itemized deductions will be eliminated in exchange for a larger standard deduction (e.g., $24,000 for joint filers), charitable contributions after 2017 may not yield a tax benefit for many because they won’t be able to itemize deductions. If you think you will fall in this category, consider accelerating some charitable giving into 2017.

• The new law temporarily boosts itemized deductions for medical expenses. For 2017 and 2018 these expenses can be claimed as itemized deductions to the extent they exceed a floor equal to 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Before the new law, the floor was 10% of AGI, except for 2017 it was 7.5% of AGI for age-65-or-older taxpayers. But keep in mind that next year many individuals will have to claim the standard deduction because many itemized deductions have been eliminated. If you won’t be able to itemize deductions after this year, but will be able to do so this year, consider accelerating “discretionary” medical expenses into this year. For example, before the end of the year, get new glasses or contacts, or see if you can squeeze in expensive dental work such as an implant.

Other year-end strategies.

Here are some other last minute moves that can save tax dollars in view of the new tax law:

• The new law substantially increases the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount, beginning next year. There may be steps you can take now to take advantage of that increase. For example, the exercise of an incentive stock option (ISO) can result in AMT complications. So, if you hold any ISOs, it may be wise to postpone exercising them until next year. And, for various deductions, e.g., depreciation and the investment interest expense deduction, the deduction will be curtailed if you are subject to the AMT. If the higher 2018 AMT exemption means you won’t be subject to the 2018 AMT, it may be worthwhile, via tax elections or postponed transactions, to push such deductions into 2018.

• Like-kind exchanges are a popular way to avoid current tax on the appreciation of an asset, but after Dec. 31, 2017, such swaps will be possible only if they involve real estate that isn’t held primarily for sale. So if you are considering a like-kind swap of other types of property, do so before year-end. The new law says the old, far more liberal like-kind exchange rules will continue apply to exchanges of personal property if you either dispose of the relinquished property or acquire the replacement property on or before Dec. 31, 2017.

• For decades, businesses have been able to deduct 50% of the cost of entertainment directly related to or associated with the active conduct of a business. For example, if you take a client to a nightclub after a business meeting, you can deduct 50% of the cost if strict substantiation requirements are met. But under the new law, for amounts paid or incurred after Dec. 31, 2017, there’s no deduction for such expenses. So if you’ve been thinking of entertaining clients and business associates, do so before year-end.

• Under current rules, alimony payments generally are an above-the line deduction for the payor and included in the income of the payee. Under the new law, alimony payments aren’t deductible by the payor or includible in the income of the payee, generally effective for any divorce decree or separation agreement executed after 2017. So if you’re in the middle of a divorce or separation agreement, and you’ll wind up on the paying end, it would be worth your while to wrap things up before year end. On the other hand, if you’ll wind up on the receiving end, it would be worth your while to wrap things up next year.

• The new law suspends the deduction for moving expenses after 2017 (except for certain members of the Armed Forces), and also suspends the tax-free reimbursement of employment-related moving expenses. So if you’re in the midst of a job-related move, try to incur your deductible moving expenses before year-end, or if the move is connected with a new job and you’re getting reimbursed by your new employer, press for a reimbursement to be made to you before year-end.

• Under current law, various employee business expenses, e.g., employee home office expenses, are deductible as itemized deductions if those expenses plus certain other expenses exceed 2% of adjusted gross income. The new law suspends the deduction for employee business expenses paid after 2017. So, we should determine whether paying additional employee business expenses in 2017, that you would otherwise pay in 2018, would provide you with an additional 2017 tax benefit. Also, now would be a good time to talk to your employer about changing your compensation arrangement-for example, your employer reimbursing you for the types of employee business expenses that you have been paying yourself up to now, and lowering your salary by an amount that approximates those expenses. In most cases, such reimbursements would not be subject to tax.

Please keep in mind that I’ve described only some of the year-end moves that should be considered in light of the new tax law.

If you would like more details about any aspect of how the new law may affect you, please do not hesitate to call.

Standard Mileage Rates for 2018 Up from 2017

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2018 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

• 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
• 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate and the medical and moving expense rates each increased 1 cent per mile from the rates for 2017.

The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. These and other requirements are described in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2018-03, posted today on, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Taxpayers Should Protect Data All Year Round

With the online holiday shopping season in full swing, it’s the perfect time for all taxpayers to take steps to protect their identities and personal data. This year, the IRS kicked off this annual event with National Tax Security Awareness Week. The IRS partnered with state tax agencies, the tax industry and other groups across the country to encourage all taxpayers to think about data protection.

While the week is over, information on these five topics remains relevant year-round:

Eight Steps to Keep Online Data Safe

Anyone with an online presence can do a few simple things to protect their identity and personal information. Following these eight steps can also help taxpayers protect their tax return and refund in 2018:

• Shop at familiar online retailers.
• Avoid unprotected Wi-Fi.
• Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails that pose as a trusted source.
• Keep a secure machine.
• Use passwords that are strong, long and unique.
• Use multi-factor authentication when available.
• Sign up for account alerts.
• Encrypt sensitive data and protect it with a password.

Recognize Phishing Email Scams

The IRS reminds people to be on the lookout for new, sophisticated email phishing scams. These scams not only endanger someone’s personal information, but they can also affect a taxpayer’s refund in 2018. Even if an email is from a known source, people should use caution because cybercrooks are very good at mimicking trusted businesses, friends and family.

Five Steps Data Breach Victims Can Take

People who are the victim of a data breach should consider these five steps to help protect their sensitive information that can be used on a tax return:

• Determine what information the thieves compromised.
• Consider taking advantage of credit monitoring services offered to victims.
• Place a freeze on credit accounts to prevent access to credit records.
• Reset passwords on online accounts.
• Use multi-factor authentication when available.

Thieves Use W-2 Scam to get Employee Data

The IRS warns the nation’s business, payroll and human resource communities about a growing W-2 email scam. Criminals use this scheme to gain access to W-2 and other sensitive tax information that employers have about their employees. The IRS recommends that all employers educate employees about this scheme, especially those in human resources and payroll departments.

Five Signs of Small Business Identity Theft

Business filers should be alert for signs of identity theft. They should contact the IRS if they experience any of these issues:

• The IRS rejects an e-filed return saying it already has one with that identification number.
• The IRS rejects an extension to file request saying it already has a return with that identification number.
• The filer receives an unexpected tax transcript.
• The filer receives an IRS notice that doesn’t relate to anything they submitted.
• The filer doesn’t receive expected or routine mailings from the IRS.


A new income tax credit goes into effect in January 2018, and the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) has released guidance to help taxpayers prepare. Beginning July 2017, the motor fuel user fee increased from 16 cents a gallon to 18 cents a gallon. It will increase by two cents a gallon each year for the next five years. The funds raised by the increase will be used for repairs, maintenance, and improvements to South Carolina existing transportation system.

To offset the motor fuel user fee increase, a tax credit was created to allow a resident taxpayer a refundable motor fuel income tax credit.

Taxpayers may claim the motor fuel income tax credit when filing their state income tax returns in 2019. Please note, this credit is applied to your 2018 SC Individual Income Taxes which are filed in 2019.

What You Need to Know

• This is a refundable credit on up to two private passenger motor vehicles or motorcycles registered in South Carolina per resident taxpayer and is provided to offset the motor fuel user fee increase.

• The taxpayer must be a South Carolina resident. A resident may be an individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate or any other entity subject to South Carolina income tax or required to file an income tax return. A nonresident taxpayer does not qualify for the credit. A resident individual includes a “part-year” resident. A “resident corporation” is a corporation whose principal place of business is located in South Carolina. A “resident partnership” is a partnership whose principal place of business is located in South Carolina. Note: An entity “doing business” in South Carolina whose principal place of business is not in South Carolina does not qualify for the credit.

• Each individual filing a joint return is a “taxpayer.” In other words, there are two taxpayers on a joint return and each resident individual is eligible for a credit. Each spouse may claim a credit for up to two private passenger motor vehicles or motorcycles registered in his or her name in South Carolina during the year. They may not both claim a credit on the same vehicle.

• A sole proprietorship is not regarded as an entity separate from its individual owner. Accordingly, the sole proprietorship is treated as owned by the individual owner and the individual is the taxpayer eligible for the credit.

• To calculate and claim the credit amount and for personal tax records, taxpayers must save receipts and invoices from:

o Fuel purchases beginning in January 2018.

o Vehicle preventive maintenance costs beginning in 2018 (includes new tires, oil changes, and regular vehicle maintenance).

• Taxpayers receive a credit on the lesser amount paid for either the motor fuel user fee increase or the vehicle’s preventative maintenance.

• Taxpayer’s will calculate and claim the credit on Form I-385, “Motor Fuel Income Tax Credit” when filing state income tax returns in 2019. (This form will be available in January 2019).

If you have any other questions regarding this Motor Fuel Income Tax Credit, don’t hesitate to call our office!

National Tax Security Awareness Week

Eight Steps to Keep Online Data Safe

During the holiday shopping season, shoppers are looking for the perfect gifts. At the same time, criminals are looking for sensitive data. This data includes credit card numbers, financial accounts and Social Security numbers. Cybercriminals can use this information to file a fraudulent tax return.

This tip is part of National Tax Security Awareness Week. The IRS is partnering with state tax agencies, the tax industry and groups across the country to remind people about the importance of data protection.

Anyone with an online presence can do a few simple things to protect their identity and personal information. Following these eight steps can also help taxpayers protect their tax return and refund in 2018:

Shop at familiar online retailers. Generally, sites with an “s” in “https” at the start of the URL are secure. Users can also look for the “lock” icon in your browser’s URL bar. That said, some criminals may get a security certificate, so the “s” may not always mean a site is legitimate.

Avoid unprotected Wi-Fi. Users should not do online financial transactions when using unprotected public Wi-Fi. Unprotected public Wi-Fi hotspots may allow thieves to view transactions.

Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails that pose as a trusted source. These emails can come from a source that looks like a legitimate bank or even the IRS. These emails may include a link that takes the user to a fake website. From there, the thieves can steal usernames and passwords.

Keep a clean machine. This includes computers, phones and tablets. Users should install security software to protect against malware that may steal data. This software also protects against viruses that may damage files.

Use passwords that are strong, long and unique. Experts suggest a minimum of 10 characters. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Use a different password for each account.

Use multi-factor authentication when available. Some financial institutions, email providers and social media sites allow users to set their accounts for multi-factor authentication. This means users may need a security code, usually sent as a text to their mobile phone, in addition to a username and password.

Sign up for account alerts. Some financial institutions will send email or text alerts to an account holder when there is a withdrawal or change to their accounts. Generally, people can check their account profile to see what added protections may be available.

Encrypt sensitive data and protect it with a password. People who keep financial records, tax returns or any personal information on their computer should protect this data. Users should also back up important data to an external source. When disposing of a computer, mobile phone or tablet, people should make sure they wipe the hard drive of all information before trashing.

Reminder to Employers and Other Businesses

January 31st Filing Deadline Now Applies to All Wage Statements and Independent Contractor Forms

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded employers and other businesses of the Jan. 31 filing deadline that now applies to filing wage statements and independent contractor forms with the government.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act includes a requirement for employers to file their copies of Form W-2 and Form W-3 with the Social Security Administration by Jan. 31. The Jan. 31 deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC filed with IRS to report non-employee compensation to independent contractors. Such payments are reported in box 7 of this form.

This deadline makes it easier for the IRS to verify income that individuals report on their tax returns and helps prevent fraud. Failure to file these forms correctly and timely may result in penalties. As always, the IRS urges employers and other businesses to take advantage of the accuracy, speed and convenience of filing these forms electronically.

Hints to help filers get ready

Employers should verify employees’ information. This includes names, addresses, Social Security or individual taxpayer identification numbers. They should also ensure their company’s account information is current and active with the Social Security Administration before January. If paper Forms W-2 are needed, they should be ordered early.

An extension of time to file Forms W-2 is no longer automatic. The IRS will only grant extensions for very specific reasons.

For more information, please give our office a call at (843) 650-9888

How to Know if the Knock on Your Door is Actually Someone from the IRS

Every Halloween, children knock on doors pretending they are everything from superheroes to movie stars. Scammers, on the other hand, don’t leave their impersonations to one day. They can happen any time of the year.

People can avoid taking the bait and falling victim to a scam by knowing how and when the IRS does contact a taxpayer in person. This can help someone determine whether an individual is truly an IRS employee.

Here are eight things to know about in-person contacts from the IRS –

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

There are special circumstances when the IRS will come to a home or business. This includes:
-When a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill
-When the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment
-To tour a business as part of an audit
-As part of a criminal investigation

Revenue officers are IRS employees who work cases that involve an amount owed by a taxpayer or a delinquent tax return. Generally, home or business visits are unannounced.

IRS revenue officers carry two forms of official identification. Both forms of ID have serial numbers. Taxpayers can ask to see both IDs.

The IRS can assign certain cases to private debt collectors. The IRS does this only after giving written notice to the taxpayer and any appointed representative. Private collection agencies will never visit a taxpayer at their home or business.

The IRS will not ask that a taxpayer makes a payment to anyone other than the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

IRS employees conducting audits may call taxpayers to set up appointments, but not without having first notified them by mail. Therefore, by the time the IRS visits a taxpayer at home, the taxpayer would be well aware of the audit.

IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced while conducting an investigation. However, these are federal law enforcement agents and they will not demand any sort of payment.

Taxpayers who believe they were visited by someone impersonating the IRS can visit for information about how to report it.

IRS Encourages Taxpayers to Check Their Withholding;

WASHINGTON — As the end of 2017 approaches, the Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to consider a tax withholding checkup. Taking a closer look at the taxes being withheld now can help ensure the right amount is withheld, either for tax refund purposes or to avoid an unexpected tax bill next year.

The withholding review takes on even more importance given a tax law change that started last year. This change requires the IRS to hold refunds a few weeks for some early filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. In addition, the IRS and state tax administrators continue to strengthen identity theft and refund fraud protections, which means some tax returns could require additional review time next year to protect against fraud.

“With only a few months left in the year, this is a good time to check on your withholding,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “How much you choose to withhold is a personal choice, but checking now can reduce the chance for a surprise tax bill when you file in 2018.”

By adjusting the Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, taxpayers can ensure that the right amount is taken out of their pay throughout the year. Having the correct amount withheld from paychecks helps to ensure that taxpayers don’t pay too much tax during the year – and it also means taxpayers have money upfront rather than waiting for a bigger refund after filing their tax return.

The IRS also cautions people to be careful and check to make sure they have enough withheld from their paychecks. Under-withholding can lead to a tax bill as well as an additional penalty. The IRS especially encourages people with a second job, such as those in the sharing economy, or with a major life change to check whether they are having enough withheld or if they are making the appropriate estimated tax payments.

In many cases, a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, is all that is needed to make an adjustment. Taxpayers submit it to their employer, and the employer uses the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to be withheld from pay. But remember – it takes time for employers to process these payroll changes, so any adjustments should be made quickly so it can take affect during the final pay periods of 2017.

The IRS offers several online resources to help taxpayers bring taxes paid closer to what is owed. They are available anytime on They include:

• IRS Withholding Calculator – Online tool helps determine the correct amount of tax to withhold.
• IRS Publication 505 – Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.
• Tax Withholding – Complete information on withholding, estimated taxes, FAQs and more.

Self-employed taxpayers, including those involved in the sharing or gig economy, can use the Form 1040-ES worksheet to correctly figure their estimated tax payments. If they also work for an employer, they can often forgo making these quarterly payments by instead having more tax taken out of their pay.

People Working in the Sharing Economy

The IRS encourages people in the sharing or ‘gig’ economy who also have a job with an employer to take a close look at their withholding. Doing so can help avoid unexpected tax issues.

Some Refunds Delayed in 2018

The IRS wants taxpayers to be aware of several factors that could affect the timing of their tax refunds next year. Due to a December 2015 law, the IRS cannot issue refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund – even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC.

This law change, which went into effect in 2017, helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

Stronger Security Filters and Tax Refund Processing

As the IRS steps up its efforts to combat identity theft and tax refund fraud through its many processing filters, legitimate refund returns sometimes get delayed. While the IRS is working diligently to stop fraudulent refunds from being issued, it is also focused on releasing legitimate refunds as quickly as possible.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the private sector tax industry continue to work together to fight fraud through their Security Summit partnership. Additional safeguards will be set in place for the 2018 filing season.

Eight Tips to Protect Taxpayers from Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when someone steals personal information for financial gain. Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses another person’s stolen Social Security number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN) to file a tax return to obtain a fraudulent refund.

Many people first find out they are victims of identity theft when they submit their tax returns. That’s because the IRS lets them know someone else already used their SSN to file.

The IRS continues to work hard to stop identity theft with a strategy of prevention, detection and victim assistance. So far, the agency has stopped millions of dollars from getting into the hands of thieves.

Check out these eight tips on how to protect against identity theft:

1. Taxes. Security. Together. The IRS, the states and the tax industry need everyone’s help. The IRS launched The Taxes. Security. Together. awareness campaign in 2015 to inform people about ways to protect their personal, tax and financial data. Learn more at

2. Protect Personal and Financial Records. Taxpayers should not carry their Social Security card in their wallet or purse. They should only provide their Social Security number if it’s necessary. Protect personal information at home and protect personal computers with anti-spam and anti-virus software. Routinely change passwords for online accounts.

3. Don’t Fall for Scams. Criminals often try to impersonate banks, credit card companies and even the IRS hoping to steal personal data. Learn to recognize and avoid those fake communications. Also, the IRS will not call a taxpayer threatening a lawsuit, arrest or to demand immediate payment. Beware of threatening phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS.

4. Report Tax-Related ID Theft. Here’s what taxpayers should do if they cannot e-file their return because someone already filed using their SSN:

• File a tax return by paper and pay any taxes owed.
• File an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Print the form and mail or fax it according to the instructions. Include it with the paper tax return and/or attach a police report describing the theft if available.
• File a report with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant.
• Contact Social Security Administration at and type in “identity theft” in the search box.
• Contact financial institutions to report the alleged identity theft.
• Contact one of the three credit bureaus so they can place a fraud alert or credit freeze on the affected account.
• Check with the applicable state tax agency to see if there are additional steps to take at the state level.

5. IRS Letters. If the IRS identifies a suspicious tax return with a taxpayer’s stolen SSN, that taxpayer may receive a letter asking them verify their identity by calling a special number or visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center.

6. IP PIN. If a taxpayer is a confirmed ID theft victim, the IRS may issue them an IP PIN. The IP PIN is a unique six-digit number that the taxpayer uses to e-file their tax return. Each year, they will receive an IRS letter with a new IP PIN.

7. Report Suspicious Activity. If taxpayers suspect or know of an individual or business that is committing tax fraud, they can visit and follow the chart on How to Report Suspected Tax Fraud Activity.

8. Service Options. Information about tax-related identity theft is available online. The IRS has a special section on devoted to identity theft and information for victims to obtain assistance.

Avoid scams. The IRS does not initiate contact using social media or text message. The first contact normally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on to find out.

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