There are many reasons to be sure that your tax and other financial records are safe and available when you need them. As you prepare and file your tax return, it’s important to have easy access to receipts, the tax forms you receive from employers and other tax-related documents.
There are many other instances, such as applying for a mortgage or other type of loan, when it will also be important to access your tax returns and other financial information. At the same time, you want to be sure that your personal documents remain confidential. With that in mind, the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants offers this tips on protecting your critical information:
Protect your privacy.
While it’s important for you to have access to your financial data, it’s also vital to ensure that identity thieves do not. When it comes to tax information, these scammers often use a technique called phishing, in which they send out emails claiming to be from the IRS. They may tell you that you are being audited or that your tax information was incomplete, and ask you to supply bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers. It’s important to be aware that the IRS does not use email, text messages or other social media to initiate contact with taxpayers, so don’t respond to these phishing attempts or open any attachments. Instead, contact your local IRS office to see if the IRS was actually trying to get in touch with you. If you receive any communication from the IRS and are unsure how to respond, remember that your CPA can help you determine if it is a legitimate request and offer advice on what to do next. In addition to avoiding phishing attempts, shredding your paper documents before you discard them can help prevent identity thieves from getting your personal data.
Tax season is a great time to talk to your CPA about your financial records and how to keep them in order. For more money tips, visit www.KnowWhatCounts.org, where you can sign up for a free e-newsletter, try out financial calculators, find a CPA with a free consultation and more.