tax season

To combat fraudulent claims, check your tax documents closely this tax season.

Because of the pandemic, many more people filed for unemployment last year than in typical years. It must be reported as taxable income, so they are receiving a tax statement that may be unfamiliar to them. Due to an increase in fraud, some have received the statement even if they never applied for or received the government benefit. This makes it extra important to check your tax documents closely this tax season.

Unemployment benefits must be reported as gross income on your federal tax return. Those who received unemployment benefits should receive a Form 1099-G. It will show the taxable amount paid to you in Box 1 and how much was withheld in federal and state taxes in Boxes 4 and 11. If you received the benefit without having taxes withheld, you may owe taxes. For more information, visit www.irs.gov/UC.

If someone has used your identity to file a fraudulent claim, the 1099-G may be incorrect. The IRS reports that taxpayers who receive an incorrect form 1099-G should request a revised form from their state agency showing they did not receive these benefits. If the corrected form is not received in time, taxpayers should file an accurate tax return listing the correct amount received, not the incorrect amount on the form. The Kentucky Career Center answers 1099-G questions at https://kcc.ky.gov/Documents/FAQ%201099Gs.pdf.

It may be a different type of scam if you are overpaid unemployment benefits or if the benefits you never applied for show up in your account rather than the scammer’s. Receiving benefits you are not eligible for is another type of fraud, and the money must be returned. The scammer may contact you and try to pressure you or trick you into sending the money to them instead of to the proper authorities.

Report any type of unemployment fraud in Kentucky to uifraud@ky.gov or 502-564-2387. You also can report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.gov, where you’ll also receive information about recovery. You can get additional identity theft information from the Kentucky Attorney General at https://ag.ky.gov/Priorities/Protecting-Kentuckians/Consumers/Pages/Identity-Theft.aspx.

You might consider placing a free, one-year fraud alert, an extended fraud alert, or credit freeze on your credit report. Note that these steps only prevent new accounts from being opened in your name. You can monitor your current accounts for fraud activity by checking your statements and reviewing your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.

Chicken and Fried Cauliflower Rice

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 diced red bell pepper

1/2 medium diced onion

2 cups finely chopped carrots

3 cups chopped cabbage

1 small chopped zucchini

1 cubed skinless, boneless chicken breast

1 head of roughly chopped cauliflower

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, lidded skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisptender, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage and zucchini to pepper mix. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a second large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to skillet with vegetable mixture. Place cauliflower into a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles rice. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook about 15 seconds; add cauliflower. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Transfer to vegetable skillet, and stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, ginger, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, green onions, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Add to cauliflower mixture. Cook, stirring until well mixed and heated through.

Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings

Nutritional Analysis: 180 Calories; 10 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 270 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 7 g sugars; 8 g protein

Editor’s note: The source of this article is Kelly May, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension senior associate for Family Finance and Resource Management. The recipe with this article comes from the Plate it Up! Kentucky Proud Project, a joint effort between the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Reach Cecelia Hostilo, Trigg County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, at P. O. Box 271 (2657 Old Hopkinsville Road), Cadiz, KY 42211, by phone at 270-522-3269, fax at 270-522-9192 or email cecelia.hostilo@uky.edu.

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