Taxpayers Choose Pros Due to Hacking

Grwoing number of taxpayers are choosing professional preparers


By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Two weeks and counting to file your federal income tax return. As ABC Columbia News found out, some South Carolinians, fearful of the statewide security breach backlash, are choosing to file the old fashioned way.

Retired army veteran Yvonne Hughes is turning to a professional tax preparer for the first time in 20 years.

The reason?

She's fearful of the backlash from last year's State Department of Revenue's security breach that hacked millions' of South Carolina taxpayers' personal information.

"Yes, that kind of scared me," said Hughes. "They already have all my information. I had to change banks, accounts, put a ProtectMyID on everything. It's really rough."

Hughes is part of a growing number of concerned tax payers who are opting to return to the old fashioned way of filing tax returns, mailing them in.

Financial planner, Yvette Jones, of Jones Financial Services, says she has encountered tax payers who are afraid to go it alone this tax filing season because of the security breach.

"A lot of people are concerned about that," said Jones.

She urges--security breach or not--leave Uncle Sam to the pros.

She says it is critical to gather all pertinent documents for a complete tax return. Doing so saves the tax preparer time and saves the tax payer money you might not even know exists.

"That one deduction can save you way beyond how much money you may have to pay a tax preparer. And, on top of that, just to have that assurance of being able to talk to someone is important."

You don't have to convince Yvonne Hughes. She will use a professional from now on.

"I'm excited to see how much I will get back. I hope I don't have to pay anyone."

Tax experts say if you don't think you'll have all your info, don't file a partial return; instead, do an extension. Also, when picking a tax preparer, choose wisely. Here is a list of pertinent documents you might need in order to file a complete tax return:

Proof of identification
Social Security #'s
Birth dates
Wages and earnings statements
Interest and dividends statements A copy of last year's tax return
Bank routing and account #'s
Child care expenses
Child care provider's tax ID #
Receipts for charitable donations

If you have additional questions, you may contact Yvette Jones at Jones Financial Services at 803-750-8700.
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