As we approach the end of the 1st Quarter of 2015, tax season is ramping up and our office is buzzing! While tax law changes and tax preparation take center stage, another concern is beginning to emerge. Unfortunately, we have already had several tax clients who discovered that their social security numbers had been used to file fraudulent tax returns. This is a major problem that many Americans run into when attempting to file their tax returns.
The recent Anthem cyber data breach may increase the amount of fraudulent tax returns that will be filed across the country and in the St. Louis region. According to Caroline Humer’s article, “Anthem says at least 8.8 million non-customers could be victims in the data hack.” The number of affected individuals across the country is estimated to be around 78.8 million customers. In light of the Anthem cyber breach paired with other large U.S. companies having private customer information hacked, protecting our identities is becoming more and more important.
I would suggest that readers direct their attention to our website and watch Susan Taylor’s podcast on this issue which is available now. Susan will also be providing information regarding what to do if you find that a fraudulent tax return has been filed using your social security number. I am anticipating an increase in fraudulent tax filing this year compared to last year, but hopefully my expectations do not come to pass.
The fact that I am even discussing protecting our identities and personal information is just another example of how the world has changed since I started in this business 40 years ago. Back then, identity theft was not a major concern, but today all of that has changed.
While much has changed over the past 40 years, I feel truly blessed as I have experienced a rewarding career and I am proud of what my team has been able to accomplish. Recently, our firm was ranked 18th in the state of Missouri and #1 in St. Charles County in the 2015 Barron’s state rankings (Based on assets under management, etc). I especially want to thank my clients, friends, and business partners who have made me and my firm a success! Without you, none of this would be possible.
According to Business Insider, February of 2015 posted the largest monthly gain in the S&P 500 Index since October of 2011. The index managed to gain a total of 5.49% in February pushing the overall 2015 return into positive territory at 2.21%. While stocks have moved higher, we continue to focus our attention on diversification, utilizing alternative investments, and maximizing our clients’ tax efficiency.
The Honduran Run which includes a 1K, 5K, and 10K walk or run is rapidly approaching on Saturday, March 28th. I am still soliciting individual sponsors for me to run in the 5K event to finance the shipment of a container down to Timmy’s Mountain for anyone still interested. I am very excited about this event and as always, all of the proceeds go to benefit our special children in Honduras. Warmer weather is near, and until then stay healthy, wealthy, and wise, and certainly . . . . stay tuned.