Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud - A Message from DHS
DHS is warning users of the potential for tax refund fraud. In February, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) discovered that their Electronic Filing PIN application on IRS.gov was accessed by hackers. Using previously stolen personal data, identity thieves used malware to generate more than 100,000 tax return PIN codes. The IRS said no personal taxpayer data was stolen, only the tax return PIN codes. The IRS notified affected taxpayers by mail. Read more on this breach here.
Although no taxpayer data was stolen, users should be aware that tax season is a prime time for cyber crime. This includes stealing personal information, looking to cash in on tax refunds, and committing identity theft. In fact, tax identity theft has been the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the past five years.
This tax season, look out for the following:
- Phishing scams including unsolicited emails, texts, and social media posts that ask you to share valuable personal and financial information. Armed with this information, online thieves can access your sensitive accounts or commit identity theft.
- Imposters claiming to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees. Note, the IRS will never email or call you demanding immediate payment without having first mailed a bill - nor will they ask for a credit or debit card number via email or phone.
Here are some tips to protect yourself from tax fraud:
- Don't give out your personal information.
- Look out for phony messages or websites claiming to be from the IRS or tax preparation services.
- Beware of promises of "free money" from refunds.
- Back up your data and store your electronic tax files securely.
- If you have been a victim of identity theft in general, report such incidents to the Federal Trade Commission at www.IdentityTheft.gov
Another tax message from your friends at the IRS:
Who Must File?
If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living or traveling outside the United States, you generally are required to file income tax returns, estate tax returns, and gift tax returns, and pay estimated tax in the same way as those residing in the United States. Your worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where you reside.
Your income, filing status, and age generally determine whether you must file an income tax return. Generally, you must file a return if your gross income from worldwide sources is at least the amount shown for your filing status in the Filing Requirements table in Chapter 1 of Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.
When is the 2015 Federal Tax Return Due?
Due date for Form 1040: April 15, 2016
Possible extensions of time to file tax return:
Automatic extension to June 15, 2016, for taxpayers living outside the United States and Puerto Rico. No form is required; write "Taxpayer Resident Abroad" at the top of your tax return.
Caution: This extension applies only for filing your tax return, not for payment. If you owe any taxes, you're required to pay by April 15, 2016. Interest and penalties generally will be applied if payment is made after this date.
Other extensions may be available on IRS.gov
Can I Mail My Return and Payment?
You can mail your tax return and payment using the postal service. If you mail a return from outside the United States, the date of filing is the postmark date. However, if you send a payment, separately or with your return, your payment is not considered received until the date of actual receipt. You may use approved private delivery services. A list of approved delivery services is available on IRS.gov.
Can I Electronically File My Return?
You can prepare and e-file your income tax return, in many cases for free. Participating software companies make their products available through the IRS. Many Free File and e-file partners accept a foreign address. E-File options are listed on IRS.gov.
What Forms Might I Need?
- 2350, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return (for U.S. citizens and residents abroad)
- 14653, Certification by U.S. Person Residing Outside of the United States for Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures
How Do I Pay My Taxes?
You must pay your taxes in U.S. dollars.
Direct pay option. You can pay online with a direct transfer from your U.S. bank account using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or by a U.S. debit or credit card. You also can pay by phone using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by a U.S. debit or credit card.
Foreign wire transfers. If you have a U.S. bank account, you can use: EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System), or Federal Tax Application (same-day wire transfer). If you do not have a U.S. bank account, ask if your financial institution has a U.S. affiliate that can help you make same-day wire transfers.
Foreign electronic payments. International taxpayers who do not have a U.S. bank account may transfer funds from their foreign bank account directly to the IRS for payment of their tax liabilities.
Are There Other Reporting Requirements?
You also may have to file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), by June 30, 2016.
Does the IRS Provide Help in Other Languages?
The IRS provides tax information in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Go to www.irs.gov and use the drop down box under "Languages" on the upper right corner to select your language.
Where Can I Get Help?
Contact the International Taxpayer Service Call Center by phone or fax. The International Call Center is open Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Tel: 267-941-1000 (not toll-free)
I Received a Notice from the IRS - What Do I Do?
If you receive a notice from the IRS and need to contact the IRS, call the number listed in the notice or the International Taxpayer Service Call Center (contact information is listed in the section above).
Where Can I Get More Information?
For information, see the IRS website about international taxpayers.
For general information about international taxpayers, see Publication 54, Taxation of U.S. Citizens and Residents Abroad.
For information on the Affordable Care Act and taxpayers outside the United States, see Publication 5187, Health Care Law.
I Haven't Filed All My Tax Returns - What Can I Do?
If you have not filed all the returns that you should have and want to catch up on your filing obligations, see IRS makes changes to offshore-programs.
Here is an upcoming event that may be of interest:
Presents a seminar on
Saudi Aramco's Geographical Information System (GIS) to support development of renewable energy projects
Date: Monday, April 4, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location: 4th Floor Auditorium, Building 15, Research Institute (RI), KFUPM
- Eng. Faer, Hisham
Head of Renewable Project Development & Support Division, Saudi Aramco
- Eng. Yemni, Faisal
Head of Power Systems Business & investment Support Division
- Eng. Burwell, Bruce
Support Business Applications
Saudi Aramco has developed a comprehensive Geographical Information System (GIS) to support development of renewable energy projects. The tool acts as a central data repository incorporating information on renewable resource, electrical and road infrastructure, aerial and satellite imagery, terrain topography and environmentally sensitive areas. The Renewables GIS has been used to map the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of wind and solar projects across Saudi Arabia based on current market prices and on the cost impacts of different factors.