Blaine’s Bulletin – Tax Day

Tax Day, the height of the year for the IRS, and probably an item on your spring-cleaning list, came and went last Monday, April 15th. As we all scrambled to meet the April 15th deadline, it's evident that the aftermath of Tax Day brings a significant workload for hardworking IRS employees and honest taxpayers alike. No matter what side of it you’re on, you still had to file; no one was granted immunity to audits, even potential delays to receiving their returns.

All of this to say, I stumbled upon an eye-opening statistic: this year, an estimated 19.4 million taxpayers were expected to request an extension to file their taxes, giving them until June 1st to file. This number is quite a jump from a decade ago when only 12.5 million taxpayers sought extensions. What's behind this rise? It's not merely procrastination due to busy schedules; you guessed it - it's a reflection of the challenges posed by record-high inflation and the soaring cost of living.

If compiling all the individual documents and forms to file wasn’t enough of a stressor, there was a noticeable uptick in reports about tax fraud attempts by resourceful scammers. These individuals were and still are continuously seeking new ways to exploit tax-paying citizens for financial gain, whether it’s through fake bills, falsified late fees or requesting additional funds through forms that don’t exist. Here are some important tips to protect yourself from tax scams:

· The IRS will NEVER contact you through email, text, or social media. Be wary of suspicious messages requesting personal information.

· Do not store your Social Security Number on a computer or cell phone. Hackers can break in and steal your information without you knowing, so it’s best to delete it from old emails, notes, or documents.

· File your tax returns early if you can! The less time criminals have to impersonate you and steal your refund the better.

· If you’re filing online, be sure to use a secure network. Do not use public Wi-Fi somewhere like a coffee shop or library.

Last year alone, we assisted nearly 400 constituents with IRS-related issues, and our offices will be available to assist this year as well. If you filed your taxes before the April 15th deadline, but have not received your tax return yet, I encourage you to contact one of our district offices in Cottleville or Jefferson City. Although we cannot officially advocate on your behalf until after the IRS' June 1st deadline, we are available to discuss your situation and provide guidance before then. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us for assistance.

CONTACT US: I encourage you to visit my official website or call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) or Cottleville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube siteFacebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.