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Sept 9, 2014
For sale: your identity.
This year, identity theft criminals attempted to steal $39 million from Hoosier taxpayers. The Indiana Department of Revenue stopped 39,000 tax returns that were attempted identity theft. These refunds were requested by criminals who stole real taxpayer identities or made up fake identities and submitted returns in their names.
Not only did the department block these identity thieves from stealing Hoosiers’ tax dollars, it is working to hold these criminals responsible for the identity theft and prevent them from stealing money from Indiana in the future. A number of active cases are under investigation and the department expects to present cases to prosecutors by the end of 2014.
The attempted fraud through identity theft was discovered by the department’s increased security activities during the 2014 tax filing process. Of the returns checked for verification, 95 percent of taxpayers’ information was verified and the returns continued processing as usual.
As an additional level of protection, 30,000 taxpayers took an Identity Confirmation Quiz to help the department confirm their identities. Most survey respondents said the quiz was easy and quick to take, and many expressed appreciation for the additional level of protection.
Preventing identity theft will not stop with this year’s success. The department will use this year’s experience to stop additional potential identity theft and tax fraud in the 2015 tax season and beyond.
Hoosiers with questions about protecting their identities can visit the department’s Stop ID Theft website at www.in.gov/dor/4794.htm for frequently asked questions, identity protection tips, a video and additional resources. Hoosiers can also sign up for the Attorney General’s ID Theft Protection Tool Kit at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2853.htm.
Aug. 18, 2014
It’s that time of year again – back to school! As students prepare their return to classrooms and universities across the state, keep in mind Indiana offers a few education related deductions and credits to maximize your money.
Education Expenses Deduction – You may qualify for a deduction based on education expenditures paid for each dependent child enrolled in a K-12 private school or those homeschooled. Expenditures include tuition, fees, textbooks and even school supplies. If eligible, the deduction is $1,000 per qualified dependent. Read Information Bulletin #107 for the details.
School Scholarship Tax Credit – When you contribute to a qualified scholarship granting organization, the money provides K-12 scholarships for Hoosier children. A contribution can net a 50 percent credit against your state tax liability. There are no limits on the size of a qualifying contribution, but the entire tax credit program has a limit of $7.5 million in credits per state fiscal year. This contribution may also qualify as an itemized deduction on your federal tax return. Visit the department of education’s school scholarship site for more information.
Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan Tax Credit – When you contribute to a CollegeChoice 529 education savings plan, you get a 20-percent state credit (up to $1,000) for contributions made this year. You don’t have to be a family member to contribute. Visit the Indiana Education Savings Authority site and read their tax credit FAQ for details.
Tax Credit for College Donations – With this credit, you may get a state credit and a deduction on your federal tax return. Making a contribution to support your Indiana college of choice could net you up to a $100 (if filing singly) or $200 (if married filing jointly) credit when you file your state tax return. Contributions can include cash and other stuff – like a rare book, artwork or land. You’ll get a bigger bang for your buck if you itemize deductions on your federal tax return. Be sure to keep your receipt/letter from the institution. Read Information Bulletin #14 for state credit details and get more information about claiming itemized deductions from the IRS.
To qualify for these credits/deductions when filing your 2014 Indiana individual income tax return (in 2015) make your contributions and/or payments between now and Dec. 31. Or as college students say, before spring semester!
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