With tax season underway, faculty and staff are being reminded of four important matters to keep in mind: 2020 W-2 forms, financial scams, fraudulent unemployment scams, and identity-related fraud.
In an email sent today, Julia Buick, senior director of tax and assistant controller in the Johns Hopkins University Tax Office, and Connor D. Scott, acting vice president for security for the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine, outlined the pertinent points:
Electronic 2020 W-2s now available in Employee Self Service
For those employees who consented to receive their W-2s electronically, W-2s for calendar year 2020 are now available in Employee Self Service (ESS), which can be accessed from the myJH portal under the HR tab on the left side of the page, or by clicking ess.johnshopkins.edu. For employees who opted to only receive your 2020 W-2 electronically, this will be your only means of W-2 delivery. If you did not choose the online only delivery option, printed W-2 forms are now being processed and are expected to be mailed no later than Jan. 25. Employees who did not originally consent to view their 2020 W-2s electronically will have another chance to opt in beginning Feb. 1. Once you opt in, you will be able to immediately access your W-2s in ESS and will only receive electronic W-2s going forward until you revoke or change your election.
For more information about accessing your 2020 W-2, please visit the W-2 forms information webpage. For any issues or questions regarding your W-2 form, please contact Payroll Shared Services at 443-997-5828.
Be aware of scams
We'd like to remind you to please be aware of scams involving W-2s, tax filing, and your personal financial information. To avoid being the victim of a scam, please be aware of the following:
- Consider filing your taxes as early as possible, because the IRS allows only one tax return per individual per year. If you file early, any subsequent fraudulent filings will likely fail.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not call or email you to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill. If a collection agency is used (only after several past-due notices have been mailed by the IRS) its representatives will not identify themselves as IRS agents.
- The IRS will not demand a specific payment method, and does not accept prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or wire transfers.
- The IRS will not request payment to a third party. All legitimate federal tax payments are made payable to the U.S. Treasury.
- The IRS will not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- The IRS will not threaten to have taxpayers immediately arrested.
Watch for fraudulent unemployment claims
As the COVID pandemic continues, there are unfortunately nationwide scams in which criminal enterprises have attacked overloaded state unemployment systems. This includes several thousand individuals in Maryland's system. While the number of affected JHU employees is small relative to the size of the university, you should be aware of several steps you may want to consider in the event a fraudulent unemployment claim is filed on your behalf, including steps recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.
Protecting Yourself Against Identity-Related Fraud
- Take advantage of credit monitoring services upon notification that information may have been exposed in a data breach. Annualcreditreport.com provides a free credit report from each credit reporting bureau once each year.
- Place a freeze on credit to prohibit any new credit applications from being opened in your name. Visit the FTC credit freeze guide for instructions.
- Place a fraud alert with the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. A fraud alert must be renewed every 90 days.
- Notify the Internal Revenue Service by filing an Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039) through irs.gov or the FTC, identitytheft.com.
- Employees subject to identity theft may also consider reporting fraud to bank, credit card companies, and law enforcement. The FBI encourages victims to report fraudulent or any suspicious activities to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
More resources about identify theft are on our employee assistance program (EAP) website through Aetna.
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