As of today, tax season is officially open! While you might want to file as early as you can if you’re expecting a refund, there’s also a very good reason why you should file as soon as you have your documents in order: to block overseas identity thieves from doing it first.
Sure, you have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017 to get your taxes filed, and the IRS says that it has been working hard to block identity thieves armed with your basic personal information or even a stolen copy of your W-2 from accessing its systems, but the easiest way to prevent a scammer from collecting your refund is to collect it yourself as soon as you can.
By the way, about 70% of Americans do receive a tax refund, whether it’s because they have too much withheld from their paychecks or because they’re recipients of the Earned Income Tax Credit or the additional child tax credit.
The late Consumerist columnist Tax Dad usually recommended adjusting your withholding if you generally receive a very large refund. “Unless you like giving an interest-free loan to the government,” he would say.
Some people like receiving a windfall early in the year, and that’s fine. Just make sure that you get your hands on that refund before any identity thieves do.