For tax scammers, tax season equals ill-gotten
profits. Tax refund fraud victims usually first learn of the crime after having
their returns rejected because scammers beat them to it.
Here is what you can do when you’re ready to file to avoid becoming a tax fraud
- File before the fraudsters do it for you. Your primary defense against becoming the next victim is to file your taxes at the state and federal level as quickly as possible.
- Get an IRS IP PIN. Michigan residents are now eligible for the IRS Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) Opt-In Program. An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. It helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s identity and accept their electronic or paper tax return.
- Use a credible tax preparer. You should beware of tax preparation firms that claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers, base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund, ask consumers to sign a blank tax form, refuse to provide a preparer tax identification number or provide copies of your tax returns, or charge outrageous fees. Anyone can file their taxes for free using IRS’s Free File Software or Free File Fillable Forms.
- Watch out for tax-related companies. Some legitimate-looking companies claim to be able to “free” consumers from tax liens, wage garnishments, levies and “unbearable monthly payments” for huge upfront fees. Other companies claim to be able to settle debts to the IRS for pennies on the dollar, and yet others will claim to give you an advance on your refund but will never hand over the balance of the money. Instead of paying big upfront fees to shady firms, consumers having trouble paying taxes should contact the IRS or their state comptroller. The IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent office within the IRS that provides free help to consumers having trouble paying their federal taxes. Consumers experiencing difficulties paying state taxes should contact the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers for guidance.
- Don’t use insecure Wi-Fi. Skip using the Wi-Fi at a coffee spot, hotel or fast food location to file tax returns online. These locations are prime places for hackers to intercept and steal your personal information.
- Use direct deposit for refunds. Get your refund via direct deposit rather than by check so criminals can’t redirect it to their address or steal it from your mailbox.
- Keep your eye on your information (again)! Do not leave your tax returns or any of the key paperwork in the car, on the kitchen counter or on top of the desk at home.
Next week, the final part of this series, will
include tips on how to tell if you’ve been a victim and what to do if you
become one. See The Star from Feb. 13 for the first part of the series. If you
have questions, please contact LCC Director of Information Security Paul H.
Schwartz at email@example.com.
To address textbook affordability and support
the Competitiveness and Innovation focus area of the college’s strategic
plan, LCC’s OER Award Program is opening a new round of monetary incentives for
adoption, adaption and creation of Open Educational Resources. OER are
accessible, openly licensed text, media and other digital materials instrumental
for teaching and learning.
Awards are available to all teaching faculty (adjunct and full-time) at LCC.
Individuals, teams, and departments or programs are encouraged to work together
Teaching faculty are invited to submit proposals in three categories: adoption of
existing OER material, revision and/or remix of existing OER material, and
development of new OER material. This innovative program supports quality,
low-cost learning materials, development of new educational content, and
Proposals are being accepted until April 13. For
more information, check out the LCC Library Research Guide and contact OER
Project Manager Amy Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you gathered inspiration from someone in
the LGBTQIA+ community locally or nationally? Would you like to showcase an
LGBTQIA+ individual who has made important contributions to society? Now is
your opportunity – nominate them for our LGBTQIA+ Icon display!
The LCC Employee Prism Alliance, with support from
the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is presenting
the LGBTQIA+ Icon display during April 2020. The display will rotate to
various Downtown and West campus locations. It will include posters and
biographical information about icons. An opening reception and presentation
will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 1, in the Gannon Building Grand River
The LGBTQIA+ community has so much to be proud of, and celebrating those who
have made, and continue to make, positive contributions to society is
important. In celebrating LGBTQIA+ icons, we are taking our lead from LGBTQIA+
History Month celebrations, which honor icons yearly. For example, The Equity
Forum has a 2019 list of icons on its website.
We encourage you to nominate LGBTQIA+ individuals whose life and achievements
have made a difference in your life. Nominations are open to all LCC students
and employees, and are due Wednesday, March 6.
If you have any questions, please contact Fran Krempasky, Prism Steering Committee
LCC offers an array of benefits to
employees, but understanding those benefits can be confusing. Each week, Human
Resources hopes to explain the many facets of our LCC benefits.
As a large employer, LCC is required each tax season to provide Form 1095-C to
all employees who had offers of health coverage and enrollment in that coverage
during the previous taxable year. The 1095-C displays the months you were
offered coverage, the months you and any eligible dependents were enrolled in
coverage, and the minimum cost to be enrolled in coverage (which could be
different than what you actually paid).
If you were offered medical coverage through LCC in the taxable year 2019, you
will receive your 1095-C in the mail to your home address on file with Human
Resources. Please be
on the lookout for this mailing in the coming days.
As a reminder, the 1095-C is not
required to file your 2019 federal income tax returns.
If you have any questions or require an electronic copy of your 1095-C, please
contact Mara Fisher at email@example.com.
StarTalks is seeking
nominations for this year’s event! StarTalks will be held in
May in Dart Auditorium. Each talk will be recorded and shared with the
Do you have
a colleague who has inspired you and others in the LCC community? Or maybe you
work with someone who is retiring soon who would like to share their
reflections on their time at LCC? Find more information or nominate a colleague,
student, alumnus or yourself to give
a StarTalk online. Nominations are due March 13.
Watch your LCC colleagues’ StarTalks from 2019 and be inspired: Andrea Lake, “The Power of Meaningful Conversations” and Monica Del Castillo, “You’re Perfect Just the Way You Are.”
This week, we’re applauding Justus Rohlfs of
ITS and Marketing.
“I would like to recognize and thank Justus Rohlfs for all his hard work
and dedication to LCC, but especially his work here in the past 12 months as
part of the web team,” Nick Myers wrote in the award. “I
was out most of January for the birth of my son, and he stepped up in a big way
in my absence. He kept up on all the website requests, including events and
marketing projects. It was a huge relief to me and my family to not have to
worry about work for a couple weeks while we were adjusting to our new life.
Not only has he helped in my absence, but has also been a key contributor in
the web relaunch efforts since late 2018, including the majority of the
accessibility improvements and enhancements we’ve done with the web. He also
does great work with video and media services, which is his primary role at the
college. He is a huge asset to LCC.”
This regular “Applause!” column features the good work you and your
colleagues do around the college. It’s powered by Applause! Awards,
an LCC-wide program designed to recognize you for providing excellent customer
service. Know someone who deserves to be featured here? All awards are given by
employees, to employees, and everyone is eligible.
Press clips for the week include:
continue between the college and MAHE. The current collective bargaining
agreement between the parties expires in August 2020. The parties continue to
make significant progress on issues and have scheduled additional bargaining
sessions in April.
Social Security is an important piece of the
retirement puzzle. If you are ready to better understand the filing process and
learn strategies to help you with your choices, you’re in luck!
Representatives from Waddell & Reed and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
will be on the Downtown Campus 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m.
March 3 to present on Social Security. Food will be provided at both time
slots and space is limited.
Please check out the event flyer
for more information and how to RSVP for one of these free and beneficial
You only have a few days left to nominate your
colleagues for the 2019-2020 Experience #Starpower Awards Showcase! These
exciting awards are designed to honor the hard work, innovation and dedication
of you and your peers.
One person will be honored in each of these categories:
- President’s Award (Outstanding Achievement Award)
- Provost’s Award (Teaching Faculty of the Year)
- Provost’s Award (Academic Professional of the Year)
- Galaxy Award (Administrator of the Year)
- Aurora Award (Diversity Excellence Award)
- Superstar Award (Public Safety or Facilities Employee of the Year)
- Eclipse Award (Safety Award)
- Shining Star Award (Support Person of the Year)
- Rock Star Award (Student Employee of the Year)
- Rising Star Award (New Employee of the Year)
- Giving Star Award (Philanthropic Award)
You can submit your thoughtful nominations on
the Experience #Starpower Awards Showcase webpage. Nominations are due by close of
business Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Did you nominate someone in a prior year who did not win? The #Experience
Starpower team gets many quality nominations every year, and would like to
consider your nominee again! Just update your previous nomination with any
current accomplishments. The #Experience Starpower team can forward your
previous nomination to you, upon request. Simply go to the webpage
and re-enter your information. The nominee cannot have won in a previous year.
Don’t forget, you can recognize the smaller successes of your co-workers every
day with Applause! Awards.
Applause! Awards are featured in The Star and are shared with the person you