February 20, 2018 - Douglas Myser

Prior IRS tax data. The IRS today reminded taxpayers who have changed tax software that the prior IRS tax data may be outdated and they may need to update the tax software they have to complete their taxes this year. It's always a good idea to keep copies of tax returns that you have filed, which has prior IRS tax data. That recommendation is more important this year because, for some taxpayers, certain data from the 2016 tax return-the adjusted gross income-will be required to validate their electronic signature on their 2017 tax return due April 17. Prior IRS tax data.

Taxpayers can avoid the rush by always keeping copies of their tax returns, generally for the past three to six years depending on the type of return filed. Alternatively, taxpayers may try to locate their 2016 tax return and prior IRS tax data from their previous year's tax preparation software or tax return preparer. Or, they may use online tools to access their tax transcript.

The electronic signature is the way the taxpayer acknowledges that information on the tax return is true and accurate. Validating the electronic signature by using prior year adjusted gross income is one way the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry work to protect taxpayers from identity thieves. Generally, for returning users, the tax software product will carry over the prior year information and make for an easy, seamless validation process. However, taxpayers using a new tax software product for the first time may be required to enter the information manually.

As the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry have made progress against tax related identity theft as part of the Security Summit effort, cybercriminals try to steal more personal information to file fraudulent tax returns. They know that just stealing a name, address and Social Security number is not enough information to commit tax fraud. This is one reason why some states in recent years have required taxpayers to enter their driver's license number on electronically filed tax returns. And if you have a tax problem, like a IRS Wage Garnishment, you need proper Identification to obtain IRS help. States can match taxpayers to the driver's license database and help validate the return.

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