Treasury: Resolve to Be Ready for Tax Scams in 2019
LANSING, Mich. – As the state of Michigan begins a new year and the state income tax filing season approaches, the Michigan Department of Treasury is asking taxpayers to resolve to be ready for tax scams in 2019.
Cybercriminals typically increase their activity in the first part of the year through phone scams and email phishing schemes. These scammers try to obtain personal information using different tricks and tactics so they can file income tax returns and claim refunds on behalf of unsuspecting taxpayers.
Some scammers may also allege a taxpayer owes taxes and aggressively demand payment for a quick payout.
“Taxpayers need to be extra alert for possible scams and schemes during this time of year and throughout the income tax filing season,” said Deputy State Treasurer Glenn White, head of Treasury’s Tax Administration Group. “When taxpayers proactively look for scams, they are less likely to be a victim of a tax-related identity theft and other cybercriminal activities.”
Treasury will never:
Cybercriminals often alter caller ID numbers and emails to make it look like the state Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service or another official agency is contacting a taxpayer. Scammers may use employee titles, a person’s name, address and other personal information to sound official.
Taxpayers who are contacted by a scammer should immediately cease the call or delete the email.
Since 2016, the state Treasury Department’s increased security measures protected more than 4,500 taxpayers who confirmed their identity was stolen and used to request state of Michigan income tax refunds. This prevented more than $19 million from being distributed to scammers.
Taxpayers who have received a call or email from a scammer should report the case to the IRS through the web or by calling 800-366-4484. To learn more about tax-related identity theft, go to www.michigan.gov/identitytheft.
New Chief Deputy Treasurer
LANSING, Mich. – State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks announced the selection of Dr. Jeff Guilfoyle as Chief Deputy Treasurer, effective January 22, 2019. Guilfoyle will join Treasury’s leadership team with a broad range of responsibilities, including providing expertise on state and local tax policy in Michigan, overseeing department operations and acting on behalf of the State Treasurer as needed.
HB 4006, introduced by Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, would modify Michigan income tax law to end the tax on pension incomes as of Dec. 31, 2018. It also would simplify taxes for retirees, according to Rep Belino. Will see how far it gets
Factoid From AARP
Since 1984, all members of Congress have paid into Social Security and are eligible for the same benefits that all participants receive. Members elected after 1984 pay into and are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and become vested after five years of full participation.
More Focus on Women?
The issues of gender pay equality and caregiver credit could acquire new emphasis in the 116th United States Congress as the result of influence expected to result from the voices of the 127 women sworn in on January 3. With issues like improved survivor benefits and the continuing quest for a more elderly-favorable method of calculating Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) likely to receive increase attention in the new session, the prospects for improved retirement for women are expected to receive additional focus in the months ahead. Read more at socialsecurityreport.org
This isn’t a tax deduction, but it is an important subtraction that can save you a bundle.
If, like most investors, you have mutual fund dividends automatically reinvested to buy more shares, remember that each new purchase increases your tax basis in the fund. That, in turn, reduces the taxable capital gain (or increases the tax-saving loss) when you redeem shares. Forgetting to include reinvested dividends in your basis results in double taxation of the dividends—once in the year when they were paid out and immediately reinvested and later when they’re included in the proceeds of the sale.
There’s a line on the tax form for reporting a state income tax refund, but most people who get refunds can simply ignore it, even though the state sent the IRS a copy of the 1099-G you got reporting the refund. If, like most taxpayers, you didn’t itemize deductions on your previous federal return, the state tax refund is tax-free.
Editor’s note: June Morse may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-886-9323.
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