February 17, 2016
Preparing your taxes using online services is an incredible technological convenience. However, you must be aware of the sensitive nature of the information you are inputting, especially if you are using a computer on an open network or in a public location.
Staff at a local public library found a person’s completed tax return on the public printer last week. Someone using the public computers had printed a copy, then forgotten it. Potential disaster was averted. The staff called the person to let them know.
It doesn't take long for someone to nab your personal information. Here are five tips to consider when working online on taxes or other financial information.
1 - If you're working on your tax return in a public place -- even your office -- never leave your PC or mobile device unattended. It only takes a few seconds for someone to snap a photo of your screen, walk off with your device, or copy down your personal information.
2 - Create unique login credentials (usernames and passwords) for each financial account. Take the time and trouble to make financial account passwords strong and complex.
3 - Keep a copy of your financial passwords where you store your locked financial records.
4 - Protect yourself by using a virtual private network (VPN) when you’re using public wi-fi, hotspots as those in libraries, coffee shops and hotels.
5 - If the printer is not right next to you, email a copy to yourself. In the time it takes to walk to a printer down the hall or in another room, someone could walk off with your information. You’ll also prevent forgetting it.
Do I still have enough to itemize?
Since before I can remember, taxpayers have had the option of reducing their income (to arrive at taxable income) by using either the standard deduction or itemized deductions. It was the one place on the tax return where most folks felt like the IRS granted them a little bit of favor…because you got to deduct whichever...
What’s going on with my exemptions under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)?
Under the former law, which of course applies to the tax returns being filed for 2017, taxpayers can claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse (if filing jointly) and each qualifying child or relative. Each of these exemptions allowed taxpayers to reduce their taxable income by...
As we all know (if you don’t, I’m not sure what rock you’ve been sleeping under), Congress presented and the President signed in to law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on December 22, 2017. This law amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
This new law affects us all. No taxpaying person in the United States will escape these changes. For some of...