Hello again, Lynn Spencer here. I have bad news to share with you all this week. Because of the Equifax Data Breach earlier this year, the IRS has put out a notice that if you are anticipating a tax refund for your soon to be filed 2017 taxes, do not expect a quick turnaround. Estimates on delays could run 2 months according to the IRS, to as long as 14 months according to consumer expert, Clark Howard. YES, that's correct. This means that you may wait until the spring of 2019 to receive a refund of taxes you began paying two years before!
There are two ways you can avoid or reduce a delay in receiving your tax refund:
- Adjust your withholding NOW so that you will either receive or pay a few hundred dollars
- Residents of FL, GA and the District of Columbia, you may request a six-digit Identity Protection Pin or IP PIN for short. This will make it more difficult, but not impossible for Hackers to gain access to your tax refund
Several consumer experts agree that even with the IP PIN safeguard in place, the IRS and the state governments are likely to err on the side of caution and make taxpayers wait months for their refund. Most of these experts are saying for you to prepare now to file your 2017 taxes as soon as you receive your W-2's and other forms such mortgage interest. However, this may not be relevant due to the fact that professional Hackers can create a fake tax return in your name in a matter of seconds with the information that was stolen from Equifax; their computer programs are working 24-7.
Our advice is for you to sit down with a professional tax advisor like Killingsworth Spencer to evaluate your withholding status, especially if you nearly always get a refund. You will be far better off waiting for a refund under $200 vs. one for several thousand dollars; would you agree? Unfortunately, most Americans are going to be affected by this data breach, and we can only imagine how long it will take to repair the damage.
Have a great week
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