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Beshear warns of IRS, tax-related identity scams

Beshear warns of IRS, tax-related identity scams

Today, the Indiana Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) opened the 2017 individual income tax filing season and began processing individual income tax returns.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue says electronically filing your return and choosing direct deposit for any refund is the most secure and convenient way file and get a refund. The deadline for filing federal taxes is April 18. And Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., will be observed on Monday, April 17. Think about that if you know you owe money this year. There are tremendous benefits and conveniences to this, of course, but there are also some downsides - such as the increased risk of identity theft that arises as we share more of our personal information online.

You can find the site that's most convenient for you by calling 311, searching this interactive map or texting "taxes" to 42033. The change is created to give the IRS more time to detect and prevent tax fraud. Taxpayers can visit www.freefile.dor.in.gov to see if they qualify and get started.

The delay is created to give the agency more time to screen the returns for fraud.

The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid fly-by-night preparers who may not be available after this year's April 18 due date or base fees on a percentage of the refund.

Free filing options - almost two million IN taxpayers qualify to file their federal and state income taxes online for free using IN freefile.

A congressional mandate, set to begin this tax season, is requiring the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. One notifies filers checking in at the busiest sites when their turn is up; another provides subscribers tax season information, reminders and updates. You have a few extra days to file your taxes this year.

Many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before January 23 and then will submit the returns when IRS systems open. The IRS says current ITINs will no longer be valid if they weren't used at least once in the last three years or if the number was issued before 2013.

H&R Block's website also offers free access to tools like tax and W-4 calculators to compute your refund, and explanatory articles and FAQ pages on subjects such as tax credits and audits.

However, a new report by an agency watchdog says stepped up screening by the IRS is also delaying legitimate refunds, forcing taxpayers to spend weeks or months proving their identity to the tax agency.

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