Did you know filing your taxes early actually helps prevent identity theft? We talked to local tax experts at H&R Block of Rome to find out if this really does help.

Did you know the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) paid out $5.8 billion in refunds to identity thieves in 2013, according to a 2015 report from the General Accounting Office? So how exactly do these thieves do it? Identity thieves take legitimate taxpayers’ Social Security numbers so they can file false tax returns and cash in on refund checks. That's why most experts suggest filing early.

In Central New York, there are plenty of businesses that will help you file your taxes. One is the local H&R Block Tax Office on Black River Blvd in Rome. According to Tyler, he suggest filing early as well.

It really depends on whose filing the return. Most of the time yes, filing early does help. But, it doesn’t always help. Someone could always get it earlier than you.

If you are nervous someone stole your information, Tyler suggests the following:

Still file the return form. It wouldn’t be able to be filed electronically, but mail the return in. At that point the IRS would look at both returns and decide who the actual person is. Then they would help give the refund to the person who it truly is owed too.

If you are a victim of identity theft, check out the IRS’s step-by-step guide on how to report it.


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