It is that time of the year again…the dreaded TAX season! As the person responsible for tax filings in our house, I don’t know what I dread most – gathering all of the necessary information, preparing the actual returns or figuring out where and how to store my confidential tax returns and supporting documentation.
During the year I keep a tax file in my drawer and save receipts from donations in order to be prepared for tax season. In January, W-2’s,1099’s and other forms start flowing in along with a whole pile of other documentation that generally sits out on my office desk in plain view. Most of my tax documents are mailed directly to our home and don’t receive any special treatment. Many others are retrieved online from my brokerage firms or banks.
When it comes time to prepare and file my return, I turn to TurboTax online to input my data. With identity theft on the rise, it is very important to consider ways you can protect your information online and in hard copy.
Before I was educated about identity protection, I didn’t think twice about how I prepared my taxes. I assumed my tax provider and financial institutions would keep all the data safe and secure. Nowadays, I take a bit more precaution. For one, I only work on my taxes from my home computer. Don’t be tempted to log in to your work computer or a public computer to look at your return or check on the status of a refund. Secondly, I do not use the same password across various websites. While it can be hard to remember multiple passwords, my husband and I have devised a code to help us both remember log in credentials. We found a standard pattern works best. For example, for Chase Bank we might use something like “12ChaseAccount84” and for Wells Fargo as might use “12WellsAccount84”.
Once I finish with our return, I store my documentation in a folder for each year in my home office area as well as in electronic form on my computer’s backup drive. Best practice would probably be to use a locked filing cabinet – maybe I’ll make that change this year!
Disclosure: Thanks to Identity Guard for sponsoring this post. Their identity theft solution: Identity Guard® kID Sure is a great resource for identity theft protection! All opinions are my own.