Whether it’s cybercriminals, data breaches, or hacking, internet security has become big business. Ransomware software and other actors now threaten our everyday survival and basic needs. From automobile gas to food supply chains, it seems that no one and no where is safe from identity theft and fraud. And if these entities are at risk so are you and your most important and personal documents.
Why Companies Request Your Tax Returns
One of the most critical documents that requires your protection is your tax return. Today, I’m not talking about filing taxes. I’m talking about how your tax return is used for identification and verification purposes inadvertently giving people having access to your most sensitive information – your social security number!
If you are buying a house, your realtor and the various parties working to secure you the property often want tp see your tax returns. But do you know what type of online security system they use, and all the persons that will look at and handle your documentation? Are you aware of how long they will keep your tax return and where it will be stored? How about when purchasing a vehicle or renting an apartment. Oftentimes, companies request your tax returns and W-2’s be submitted as well. Can you really trust them to protect your social security number?
The IP PIN
In recognition of the current reality and climate, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the first time has opened up the IP PIN option for everyone. I know, I’m sure you’re already thinking, “this is complicated and overwhelming” just because I mentioned IRS and IP PIN. Well it’s not! Basically, the IRS is now allowing anybody to apply for an IP (Identity Protection) PIN (Personal Identity Number).
Still confused? All this means is that you no longer have to use your Social Security Number when filing your taxes. In prior years, this option was limited to some parts of the country or persons who had their identity stolen. But due to the influx in cases surrounding identity theft and fraud, your favorite uncle Sam is now providing you with an option to protect your identification and Social Security Number from being included on your tax returns. Here’s the information you need in order to play it safe and protect your documents:
- You have to voluntarily request entry into the program, or “opt in”, in order to protect yourself from tax related identity theft. You can request to opt in by visiting an IRS Service Center (Office), go to IRS.Gov/GetAnIPPIN or mail in or fax IRS Form 15227 to the IRS. If you opt in, the IRS will send you a CP01A Notice. Don’t be scared! Smile! It’s just a a letter with your six-digit ID number. I’m sure you can handle that.
- The IP (Identity Protection) numbers are also available for spouses and dependents. That way your entire family identification information can be protected.
- Currently, if you opt into the program, you will not be able to opt out until the year 2022. If you decide to start protecting your ID and relocate in 2021 from your current address, you must notify the IRS by using IRS Form 8822 to register your change of address.
See, it’s not complicated at all. There are a few forms and some numbers for you to consider, but it’s worth it if it means protecting you and your family.
I have decided to add a new section to Money Monday’s called “what’s up!” This segment will share something very important I think you should know about that may be unrelated to the main article.
Today’s what’s up is that starting July 15, 2021, the IRS will be writing and sending you checks for child tax credit payments. For each child who is between six and seventeen years of age you will receive $250 per child each month. Do you have two kids? That’s $500.00 per month cash money! If your child is younger than six years or a new born, instead of $250.00 per month per child you would receive $300.00 per month per child.
If your adjusted gross income is $75,000.00 or less single, $112,500 or less head of household or $150,000.00 or less if married, you get the full benefit. Look for those IRS letters in the mail and start planning how to manage those checks you’re about to cash. That’s what’s up!