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2.24.20 Fraudulent tax returns; Get a Real ID; Coronavirus affect on markets

Published: Monday, February 24, 2020 @ 5:00 PM

The IRS has announced they’re going to send out revenue agents to homes and business of people who owe or who have failed to file. Crooks see this as a huge opportunity to impersonate agents and fake demands for money. The IRS is targeting business owners and those who make over $100K a year. But the crooks will go after anyone. The IRS claims their agents will be highly trained and will not require the purchase of any type of prepaid card – which is a scam tipoff. The IRS is short staffed. If someone shows up at your door, the odds are it’s a scamster. A real agent would at most ask for a check made out to the U.S. Treasury. Legit visit or scam, do not be intimidated. Knocking on people’s doors is wrong, mean and stupid. Meanwhile, Tax ID thieves are circumventing the IRS fraud indicators by going for more refunds with lower amounts, going now for hundreds vs. thousands per refund. If you can’t file, you may be a victim of tax ID fraud, and will need to go through a separate, manual IRS procedure to process your return. 

Real ID started 15 years ago with the final deadline repeatedly delayed. After the deadline, you cannot fly without Real ID. Compliant licenses display some form of star logo. Only around 30% of Americans have a compliant license. The Dept. of Homeland Security has a new procedure allowing application online. Individual states will have to design systems to allow this. Flying will require Real ID DL, or a passport, military ID – some form of verified ID. In person DL renewal requires special documentation now. Know what you’ll need before you go or apply online.

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In the wake of spreading illness and loss of life, coronavirus is having a devastating effect of economic activity in concentrated areas of Asia, moving into Europe and Iran. There is potential for continuing spread of this virus. Economic effects are increasingly global. Markets that have been highly valued in the U.S. could see a breather from these inflated values. If coronavirus becomes a risk to health and life in the U.S and Canada, markets will be affected. Keep funding your retirement funds. With dollar cost averaging, a stock market decline in 2020 means you’re buying more shares and should make more money over time as those shares recover. If you’ve got money in savings including online banks, those rates are likely headed lower. For money you won’t need soon, lock your money in a one year CD to preserve a better interest rate with an online bank or credit union, never a traditional bank. Mortgage rates are also in decline, making now a good time to refinance.
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