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Tips from the Tax Department to help protect your refund and private information
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is urging taxpayers to be vigilant and guard against identity theft during this extended filing season. The Tax Department shared tips to help New Yorkers protect their private information.
“Scam artists are continually adjusting their tactics to steal the sensitive information they need for their fraud schemes,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt. “You can help safeguard your sensitive data and maintain peace of mind by following these tips.”
Tips to Prevent Identity Theft and Fraud
√ File now. File your tax return as soon as possible before the extended deadline of July 15. This can reduce the likelihood that an identity thief will be able to claim a fraudulent tax refund using your stolen information. Don’t give scammers more time to commit their crime.
√ Protect data and documents used to prepare your return. Protect sensitive personal information and documents during and after the filing process by ensuring you only visit secure websites, encrypting your wireless network, and using strong passwords.
√ If you hire a tax preparer, do your research to ensure they’re competent and ethical. Avoid preparers who boast that they can obtain refunds larger than their competitors can, who don’t provide you with their IRS preparer tax identification number (PTIN), or who base their fee on a percentage of your refund.
√ Make sure your tax preparer is willing to sign your return. The preparer must also provide you with a copy of your return.
√ Carefully review your return. You’re responsible for the return’s accuracy. If you hire a paid preparer, never sign a blank return.
Take Advantage of Free Filing Software Online and Maintain Social Distancing
Each year, millions of New Yorkers qualify to file their personal income tax returns for free from the convenience of their homes. Taxpayers who earned $69,000 or less in 2019 are eligible to electronically prepare and e-file both their federal and New York state income tax returns by using the Free File software available online.
Nearly 200,000 taxpayers have already filed their returns through the Free File program this year, saving a combined $40.7 million. To be directed to the free filing options, simply click Free File your income tax return on the Tax Department’s website.
To ensure you're not charged a fee, you must go to the Tax Department’s website to complete your return. You’ll save preparation fees, prevent costly errors, and ensure that you receive any refund you’re owed in the most efficient way possible.
The Tax Department has produced a series of video tutorials to assist New Yorkers with the tax return filing process. Topics range from gathering the necessary documents to choosing the right software. You can view the videos at our “Get ready to e-file your income tax return” webpage.
Report Fraud, Scams and Identity Theft
If you are a victim or believe you may be a potential victim of tax-related identity theft, alert the Tax Department immediately. It will track your information to help keep it private and protected. Visit the Tax Department’s Report fraud, scams, and identity theft webpage.