The instructions for Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, have been updated to include several key changes including:
- The form now provides space for up to four representatives, however, no more than two representatives may receive copies of the notices and communications sent by the IRS,
- Form 2848 can be used by unenrolled preparers to represent taxpayers for tax returns that they have prepared. Form 8821 can still be used to request tax information by the preparer, and
- In the box labeled “jurisdiction” in the signature section of the representative Enrolled Agents must now enter IRS as the licensing jurisdiction or the form will be returned by the CAF unit.
Don’t take the Bait; Avoid Phishing and Malware to Protect Your Personal Data
“Update your account now.” “You just won a cruise!” “The IRS has a refund waiting for you.”
In the cyber world of phishing, the sentences are “bait” – lures from emails, telephone calls and texts all designed to separate you from your cash, your passwords, your social security number or your very identity.
The IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure you understand the dangers to your personal and financial data. Taxes. Security. Together. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.
No doubt you’ve heard that warning to beware of phishing many times. But, phishing remains a problem because it works. Cybercriminals on a daily basis concoct new ways to trick people into turning over cash or sensitive data that can affect your taxes.
When it comes to this type of crime, the main line of defense is not technology, it is you.
Criminals pose as a person or organization you trust and/or recognize. They may hack a friend’s email account and send mass emails under their name. They may pose as your bank, credit card company or tax software provider. Or, they may pose as a state, local or federal agency such as the Internal Revenue Service or a state agency. Criminals go to great lengths to create websites that appear legitimate but contain phony log-in pages.
Just remember: No legitimate organization – not your bank, not your tax software company, not the IRS – will ever ask for sensitive information through unsecured methods such as emails. And the IRS never sends unsolicited emails or makes calls with threats of lawsuits or jail.
Scam emails and websites also can infect your computer with malware without you even knowing it. The malware can give the criminal access to your device, enabling them to access all your sensitive files or track your keyboard strokes, exposing login information.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Avoid suspicious phishing emails that appear to be from the IRS or other companies; do not click on the links- go directly to their websites instead.
- Beware of phishing scams asking you to update or verify your accounts.
- To avoid malware, don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it contains.
- Download and install software only from websites you know and trust.
- Use security software to block pop-up ads, which can contain viruses.
- Ensure your family understands safe online and computer habits.
To learn additional steps you can take to protect your personal and financial data, visit Taxes. Security. Together. You also can read Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are yourTaxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
Additional IRS Resources:
Instructions have been posted to IRS.gov, showing victims of ID theft how they can request copies of fraudulent returns filed under their names.
- A victim of identity theft may request a redacted copy of the fraudulent return. The victim’s name and SSN must be listed as either the primary or secondary taxpayer on the fraudulent return.
- Redaction will protect additional possible victims on the return. However, there will be enough data for you to determine how your personal information was used.
- To make the request, victims need to prepare a signed letter and mail it to a specified address. Your letter must be accompanied by a copy of your government-issued identification.
- The IRS will acknowledge your request within 30 days of receipt and within 90 days you will receive the return or follow-up correspondence.
- At this time, you can only request a copy of a fraudulent tax return filed using forms in the 1040 series.
See the full statement via the hyperlink above for additional details.
If you received advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2014 under the health care law, you should file your 2014 tax return as soon as possible this summer to ensure you can timely receive advance payments next year from your Marketplace.
If advance payments of the premium tax credit were paid on behalf of you or an individual in your family in 2014, and you do not file a 2014 tax return, you will not be eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions to help pay for your Marketplace health insurance coverage in 2016. This means you will be responsible for the full cost of your monthly premiums and all covered services. In addition, we may contact you to pay back some or all of the 2014 advance payments of the premium tax credit.
Because Marketplaces will determine eligibility for advance tax credit payments and cost-sharing reductions for the 2016 coverage year this fall, it will substantially increase your chances of avoiding a gap in receiving this help if you file your 2014 tax return with Form 8962 electronically as soon as possible.
If you missed the April 15 deadline or received an extension to file until Oct. 15, you should file your return as soon as possible. You should not wait to file. File now to reconcile any advance credit payments you received in 2014 and to maintain your eligibility for future premium assistance.
Remember that filing electronically is the best and simplest way to file a complete and accurate tax return as it guides you through the process and does all the math.
File Your 2014 Tax Return Now to Receive Timely Advance Payments in 2016
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and the premium tax credit,