Noell Black:  Hey, thanks for tuning in. I’m Noell Black, and I’m a non-attorney representative here at Gardberg & Kemmerly. And I’m here to talk to you today about filing your tax return after this new year. A lot of people look for that after we spend money at Christmas. You’re looking to file that tax return and see if you can get a tax refund. However, there are some things… If you are filing for Social Security Disability, or if you’re on Social Security Disability, or if you’re thinking of filing for Social Security Disability, it is very important that you consider some things when filing a tax return. And we see this so many times. Every week almost. People come in. They have filed a tax return. They have no income. They filed this return because they have dependent children, or they have dependents that they take care of, whether that be grandchildren or their cousin’s children, and they are looking for that tax refund.

Noell Black: However, if you have not worked, a lot of times people are… I don’t want to use the word conned or duped into filing a fraudulent tax return. But that is the only word that I can really come up with it, because so many people don’t understand exactly what they are doing when they file this return. And the tax preparer tells them, “Look, you’re going to get $3,000, $4,000, $5000 back in a tax refund.” Of course, the preparer is going to get a percentage of that, and they’re going to get a fee. So they want the person to file the tax return and claim this income.

Noell Black: But the problem is so many times that the person has not actually engaged in any kind of employment. And this is where people file what’s called a Self-Employment Form on their tax return. And you get a tax refund off of that self-employment when you have so many dependents. But if you have not actually engaged in that work and made that amount of money, and have receipts to show for that amount of money, or receipts to show for your actions, whether that be receipt books, copies of checks, a 1099, or a W-2, and you didn’t do that work, then that’s considered fraud. And it’s tax fraud. And if you have dependents, people do this for what they call the earned income credit. And that is when you don’t make enough money to reach the threshold for what the government says for taking care of those children, so you get this earned income credit which gives you a huge tax refund. And that is great for those who have very low income and need this and have dependents that they have to care for.

Noell Black:  However, there are many people out there and tax preparation companies that, unfortunately, are doing this fraudulently. And we see it so many times. People come into the office. They are like, “No, I haven’t worked at all.” But we pull up their earnings statement, and it shows $12,000 in self-employment, $15,000 in self employment. And when we ask them about that, they say, “No ma’am, I haven’t worked. Or “No sir, I haven’t performed any work.” And sometimes it comes down to the day you’re in front of the judge. And this can really lead to your credibility, and you can completely lose all benefits for those years that you filed this return. In some cases you can lose your case completely because of the tax refund and because of this earned income credit and self-employment that you filed.

Noell Black: And remember that filing falsely self-employment for large income returns can lead to penalties. And they won’t let you file earned income credit again for two to ten years if you are audited by the IRS. And I will say that some administrative law judges will turn in claimants for tax fraud to the IRS, if they suspect or even if you admit on the record at the hearing that you did not perform that work.

Noell Black:  So I wanted to go over this with you. If you get ready as the new year comes around, and you’re getting your paperwork, and you want to file a tax return, and you have filed for Social Security Disability, you’re waiting for that claim. Or maybe you’re on Social Security Disability, and you’re wondering can you file a tax return. We are not tax lawyers, and we really recommend that you speak to a tax attorney. Or speak to your tax preparer, and make sure that they understand that you are on Social Security Disability. It can seriously impact your benefits, your future benefits, your past benefits, your claim, and how you will be able to proceed with that claim.

Noell Black: And sometimes we have to dismiss claims all the time because people worked. And if you are working, that is great. And you need to file that tax return. But if you have not made $12,000 doing hair at your house, and you file that on your tax return, and you don’t have proof that you’ve made that $12,000, then essentially that is considered fraud. And if you are working, you cannot work and file for Social Security Disability benefits unless you meet certain resource limits. And you can find those online. You can also call our office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529.

Noell Black: If you have a claim with us, or if you have a claim that you are waiting to get processed, and looking to file for Social Security Disability, please call the office. We’ll be glad to meet with you. The consultation is free. And we will see if we are able to help you, if your income requirements are meeting those rules for Social Security Disability.

Noell Black: And I just wanted to reach out to everyone today, and let you know to watch what your tax repairer is filing for you. So like I said, so many people have no idea that that’s what they’re filing. Read… Have someone read over it if you’re not sure. And make sure that you’re filing the proper return and that you’re not claiming income that is not yours. And thank you for tuning in today, and have a great day. GardbergLaw.com.