MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Revenue and the IRS are accepting tax returns starting Monday.
As you begin filing, it’s extremely important to keep your identity safe because hackers and scammers are on the hunt to get information.
SCDOR said in 2019, 90% of individual income tax returns in the Palmetto State were filed electronically.
Samantha Slapnik, owner of Liberty Tax Services, said the security of your information is more important than ever. She said the earlier you file the better, as no one else can file under your Social Security number. Also, make sure it’s physically handed over to a tax professional or a secure file server.
“You’re really going to see more verification - income verification by the IRS. They are still holding refunds with any earn income credit, additional child tax credit, American opportunities credit, until after Feb. 15 so they can verify that income,” Slapnik said.
Tax returns include every bit of information a scammer needs to steal your identity, name, birth date, address and Social Security number.
“You’ll need to make sure your information is secure. Don’t email W-2′s, don’t text pictures of Social Security cards, all of those things to make sure your information stays safe and you don’t have any identity protection issues in the future," Slapnik said.
There aren’t many changes from last year’s season and Slapnik said for the most part, the tax reform that was put in place last year under the tax cuts and jobs act has continued on. She said there were minor changes for inflation, and standard deductions have gone up for all four filing statuses. In addition, your credits have increased slightly, which Slapnik says is pretty normal.
Slapnik said the biggest thing they’ve seen this year is in the budget act that was passed in December.
“So the big changes from the budget act that we’ve seen is they’ve extended the tuition and fees deduction. So if you have a student or are a student, if you didn’t qualify for one of the credits, you may be able to take the deduction," Slapnik said.
The medical deduction being lowered is good because it means you have to have less medical expenses before they’re able to count toward your total deduction, Slapnik said.
SCDOR said processing your return and refund is expected to take six to eight weeks from the date you file.
You have until April 15 to file your tax returns.