Need help with Your income taxes?

If you haven’t filed your income taxes yet, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site in Minot is ready to help middle- and low-income taxpayers complete their 2017 federal and state tax returns.

You do not have to be an AARP member to take advantage of this free service.

The Minot Tax-Aide site is located at the American Legion, 1949 N. Broadway. Hours are 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday by appointment only. Call 509-1446 to make an appointment.

Individuals should ensure that they have all of the documents they need to file before coming to the Tax-Aide site, including Social Security cards, a photo ID, and a copy of last year’s tax returns.

Avoid Tax Scams

With another tax season here, so is another round of tax scams, including tax identity theft.

Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent tax refund.

These phony returns are usually e-filed early in the tax season because e-filed returns get faster refunds. A scammer hopes to get your refund check before you file a legitimate return.

But you won’t know something is wrong until you file your tax return. Here are some of the warning signs: your e-filed return won’t go through; you receive a notice from the IRS that more than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number; you have an unexpected balance due, refund offset or collection action taken against you; IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned; or state or federal benefits are being reduced or canceled because the agency received information reporting an income change.

To avoid tax identity theft, file your tax return as soon as possible so you can claim your refund before a scammer does.

Protect your personal information. Don’t carry your Social Security or Medicare cards in your wallet. Don’t provide personal information, like your Social Security number or date of birth, to someone who calls you. Any unsolicited email or phone call asking for personal information is likely from a scammer.

If you are a victim of tax identity theft, the burden is on you to get things sorted out. If you suspect tax-related identity theft, call the IRS at 800-908-4490.

Be on your guard for scams throughout the year. For more information on tax and other scams, sign up for the Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud.