Tax Security Tips

Proactive Tax Security Information


Important tax security information and resources.


A. Avoid tax-preparer phishing and IRS-impersonator telephone scams.

According to the IRS, please be aware that:
1. The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
2. The IRS will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. The IRS will never require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. The IRS will never threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

B. Protect your passwords.

Avoid using the same log in and password for multiple online accounts. If one password is stolen for one account, chances are you’ve used the same log in information on other, possibly more important, accounts.

Some recommendations for safer passwords include:
1. Making sure that your password is at least 10 characters long
2. Making sure that your password does include at least one letter and one number
3. Making sure that your password does not include characters that repeats more than 3 times
4. Making sure that your password includes at least one of the following characters: ! @ # $ % ^ & * ) ( _ + = | / ? ; : . } { - [ ]

C. Monitor your identity through credit bureaus and health insurance statements.

Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to review each of your three credit reports once a year for free. Make sure no one has filed claims with your health insurance or received care using your personal information. 

D. Shield your personal information while online.

Give personal information only to encrypted websites and avoid over-sharing on social media. Avoid mentioning you are on vacation and implying your home will be empty, as it could leave your home susceptible to burglary. 

E. Save previous tax returns and supporting documents securely.

Keep copies of completed federal and state tax returns and supporting documents from previous years – preferably under lock and key – such as inside a safe. If you file taxes electronically, make sure to have a backup on an external hard drive, in case the hard drive on your computer crashes. Both your computer and external hard drives should be password protected. The IRS recommends keeping copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for 3-7 years.

F. Properly dispose of sensitive personal information when the time is right.

Stay aware of all tax documents that contain sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers and bank account numbers, and do not simply throw them away in the trash. Properly shred all sensitive documents you no longer wish to keep.

G. File your taxes as early as possible.

Ensuring you file early could help prevent fraud if your identity has been stolen and that person attempts to file taxes illegally on your behalf to collect your refund.

The information contained in this article is intended for general educational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. Please consult with your own legal, tax or financial advisor for guidance with your own particular circumstances.

Sources and more information:

1. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website, https://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts





The information contained in this article is intended for general educational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. Please consult with your own legal, tax or financial advisor for guidance with your own particular circumstances.