Avoiding scams and hiccups when filing your taxes

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tax season has begun and avoiding scams and hiccups is likely at the top of your mind when filing your taxes this season.

That means ensuring you have everything you need, including your W-2. Your employer must send you that necessary tax document by January 30.

When you file this year, there are no additional stimulus payments or rebate credits to factor into your refund. You may also get a smaller refund this year, thanks to the child tax credit.

“It’s back to the pre-Covid level of $2000 per child for those children that are under 17, so that’s gonna be an adjustment for some people because they got used to those last two years getting those larger refunds for the advance child tax credit,” Montgomery Dillavou, C.P.A., said.

For 2022, the dependent tax credit has decreased to $3,000 and $6,000 for one or more dependents, respectively.

Seniors, you may not have to pay taxes if your adjusted gross income is under $100,000. For couples, it’s under $150,000 on their 2022 Social Security retirement benefits.

The deadline to file taxes is April 18 and, to make it go smoothly, you should file immediately.

“We want to make sure that people have all of the receipts together because what we see is that people miss deductions that they are entitled to. So, make sure they have receipts for charitable contributions and medical expenses that they incurred. Keep in mind that the medical expenses that we get to deduct, there are really three categories: Your premiums that you pay, any co-pays you pay when you go visit the doctor, and any prescriptions,” Dillavou said.

Beware of scam artists who want to steal your personal info and even your refund. A surefire way to avoid that is to go to a professional to file your taxes.

“You’ll want to use someone who is going to protect that information and has things in place to protect it. We really don’t recommend the My Cousin Vinny approach, which is what we call it, where someone says, “Hey, yeah, my cousin Vinny does tax returns at his kitchen table, just go over to his house and pay him $50.” You don’t know how your personal information will be protected in that kind of situation,” Dillavou suggests.

You’ll also want to watch out for scam artists getting ahold of your personal info. Your SSN, address and birthday are essential for your return but can spell trouble if it’s in the wrong hands.

You’ll also want to avoid the refund recalculation scam, involving an email saying you owe more money than originally thought. The IRS will never email you.

The IRS website has more information on how to avoid scams. They also share how they will reach out to you if they have any questions or inquiries.