Identity Theft is an Issue When Filing Tax Returns

 Police continue to take reports of identity theft from residents attempting to file their 2014 income taxes.

An 18-year-old LaPorte man told LaPorte Police that his parents recently attempted to file their tax return with him listed as a dependent. The tax return was rejected, citing that someone else had already claimed the victim as a dependent. The victim also attempted to access his credit score and learned that a credit card, mortgage and home equity loan were fraudulently established using his identity.

Continue reading

Don’t Ignore Income Tax Filing Deadline

Federal and state income tax returns need to be filed tomorrow. Michelle Bachtel with H&R Block says you have options if you owe and are not able to pay. She adds the most important thing is not to panic

“If you can’t pay the full amount by April 15, just pay what as much as you can,” Bachtel said. “Even though interest will accrue on the amount owed, you’re not going to be arrested, and they’re not going to come knock on your door and seize your home.” Continue reading

Bring Essential Documents to Your Tax Appointment

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, time is running out. Federal and state income taxes are both due Wednesday, April 15. Michelle Bachtel from H&R Block in Knox says you need to have personal information for everyone on your return handy before you start. This includes Social Security numbers, birth dates and full legal names as registered with the Social Security Administration. You will also need documentation of all of your income from wages, tips, savings, investments, retirement, rental property, self-employment or farming. Continue reading

Indiana Department of Revenue Aims to Prevent Identity Theft

The Indiana Department of Revenue has implemented programs to help deter tax refund fraud and identity theft. They have already stopped more than $5.3 million in attempted identity theft and refund fraud this year.

Increased security features confirm the identity of each Indiana resident before processing tax returns. As part of the program, more than 179,000 taxpayers have been asked to complete an Identity Confirmation Quiz that features four questions and takes three minutes to complete. Those required to complete the quiz receive a letter with directions from the Indiana Department of Revenue. It can be completed online or over the phone. Once the quiz is successfully done, his or her refund will be processed and delivered within 14 days if electronically filed and within 12 weeks if filed by paper.

Continue reading

Income Tax Filing Deadline is Quickly Approaching

Just three weeks remain to file income taxes on time. The deadline to file is Wednesday, April 15.

Katie McLear Public Relations Specialist with the Indiana Department of Revenue says taxes can be filed for free with the Indiana Free File program. If eligibility requirements don’t allow that option, McLear says the best option is to file electronically.

“There are a number of benefits to filing electronically,” explained McLear. “First for foremost you’re going to get your refund much faster. You’ll get that refund in about 10 to 14 days. You could wait up to 12 weeks if you file by paper.”

Continue reading

Beware of State Tax Scam

State officials warn of a national telephone scam targeting Hoosiers. Callers claim to represent the Indiana Department of Revenue and say there is an outstanding tax warrant in the taxpayer’s name. They claim local law enforcement is on the way to arrest the taxpayer unless the debt is paid over the telephone. The scam artist sounds convincing and professional. They often have personal information about the taxpayer and can alter the caller ID to appear more legitimate.

Department of Revenue officials stress they do not call taxpayers without first corresponding through the mail and does not threaten to use local law enforcement. Commissioner Mike Alley says taxpayers should not be afraid to hang up the telephone if they suspect they are being targeted by a scam artist. Continue reading

BMV to Issue Refund in Excise Tax

Officials with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Department of Revenue will be working together to issue excise tax refunds to affected customers.

Indiana BMV Commissioner Don Snemis stated that some vehicles were classified in error for excise tax purposes. These misclassifications stretch back to 2004 when the BMV’s System Tracking and Record Support system was implemented on a limited basis.

Continue reading

Divorce Can Create Sticky Tax Filing Situations

Parents of divorced dependent children may face extra challenges when it comes to preparing their income taxes.

H&R Block Senior Tax Advisor Michelle Bachtel says that’s one of the more common questions she gets. Generally she says the IRS says whoever the child remains with the majority of the year is the person who gets the claim.

“Sometimes though divorce decrees will grant the non-custodial parent the claim,” Bachtel said. “That’s when you hear people refer to splitting an exemption. The custodial parent is still entitled to some credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, where the non-custodial parent who gets the exemption is entitled to the child tax credit. It is possible to split an exemption, but there are some very strict rules for doing that.”

Continue reading

Tax Preparer Offers Indiana-Specific Tips

Some taxpayers in our area may be in for a surprise when they file their Indiana returns.

H&R Block Senior Tax Advisor Michelle Bachtel says that could be the case if you moved mid-year, as the state calculates county taxes based on where you live on Jan. 1. For instance, someone who moved from Pulaski to Starke County and changed their withholding may end up owing state taxes.

Continue reading

Counties to Receive Thousands, Millions from Found Money

The Department of Revenue Commissioner, John Eckart, has resigned after state officials found $205 million in local option income tax money owed to counties wasn’t distributed. State Budget Director, Adam Horst, blamed the problem on a programming error.

The problem with distribution of the local income tax money comes months after the state found $320 million in corporate taxes that were collected over four years but not transferred to the state’s general fund.

Continue reading

Jennie Carter Appears in Starke Circuit Court for Initial Hearing

Jennie Carter

Jennie Carter appeared for her initial hearing in Starke Circuit Court this morning. Charged with a felony count of theft, Carter pleaded not guilty to Judge Kim Hall. She is currently out on $5,000 cash bond.

Carter requested a court appointed lawyer, but under questioning by the judge, she said that she was gainfully employed, and paid $2,600 a month. When asked if she had anything of value that could be sold to pay a lawyer, she said she had a four-year-old television and a 2007 Ford Taurus that she was making payments on. Her on-hand cash was listed as $200.00, and she said her $5,000 bond money was borrowed.

Continue reading

Starke County Tourism Embezzlement Explained

Jennie Carter

In an effort to explain how the embezzlement of $7,140 could go undetected for almost a year, the Starke County Tourism Board issued a timeline and statement yesterday in the Jennie Carter case.

According to the timeline, Carter, Coordinator of the Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County organization, wrote a check for that amount of money on March 21st, 2011 to the Drug Free organization. She claimed it was for money owed to the Indiana Department of Revenue in taxes. Cosigning with Carter was the Tourism Board President, Rich Wieczorek, who is not suspected of wrongdoing. The check was cashed by Carter, who took possession of the money.

Continue reading