Tax Tips: Protecting Your Information and Your Refund

As you prepare to file your taxes, make sure to store files with your personal information safely

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The tax deadline is about eight weeks away.  You want to get your taxes filed on time and you need to protect your information.

We all file our taxes hoping for a refund, and dreading the possibility that we will owe money. But don’t let that stop you from filing on time.



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“The penalty for filing a late tax return is 5% a month and it's capped at 25%. But a 25% penalty is really expensive,” says Enrolled Agent John Warren of Medford Tax Experts.  “The government's willing to go into installment agreements and you can set up a payment agreement online at or on the Massachusetts DOR website.”

Warren advises taxpayers to keep their personal tax information safe.

Never email your W-2 that has your name, address, social security number, the place you work,” said Warren. “And don't store tax documents on your iPhone.  It’s so convenient, it’s easy, but nothing good is going to happen... A good tax professional is going to use secured file portals.”

Don’t use public wifi or a public computer to e-file either.

And the IRS Identity Protection PIN program can help protect you from tax-related identity theft.

“This is a six digit code that you can put on your tax returns for one year,” said Warren.  “ And when you do, they'll know that it's your tax return and no one else's. If you subscribe to the IP PIN program, you will get a new six digit number every year.”

It's tax season, and you've probably started to receive some of the paperwork. But knowing what you need to file can save you time and frustration. In this bilingual explainer, NBC10 Boston and Telemundo NI break down what you need to know. More here:

There are free basic tax preparation services available for people who qualify.  The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program offers free tax help to people who need assistance preparing their own tax returns.

That includes people who generally make $60,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English-speaking taxpayers.  

And working families with low incomes can get free tax services from a local low-income tax clinic. 

"These clinics are staffed by pro bono enrolled agents and attorneys,” says Warren. “You have the right to representation for a fair, equitable tax system. If you can't afford to pay for a tax representative. Contact a low-income tax clinic. You can get help."

If you want more information on the IRS Identity Protection PIN program you can find it here:

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program information is here: And Greater Boston Legal Services here:

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