Why Procrastinating With Your Tax Return Could Cost You

by Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post


George Thomas / Flickr

George Thomas / Flickr

Taxpayers have a few extra days this year — until April 18 — to file returns and pay taxes.

But many taxpayers may actually want to file their returns as soon as they have the necessary paperwork.

Besides making it possible to get your refund earlier, filing early is still one of the best ways to defend against tax-refund theft, tax pros and security experts say.

“It’s even more important this year to file early,” says Melissa Labant director of tax advocacy for the American Institute of CPAs. “The later they wait, the more they increase the chances of having a criminal file on their behalf.”

Take a look at what happened last year. On Feb. 5, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, temporarily stopped processing state tax returns after noticing a surge in suspicious filings. Some states later reported that fraudulent activity had multiplied by nearly 40 times — and it was only a little more than two weeks into the filing season.

This filing season, the IRS, state tax officials and tax software providers will share information about suspicious filings to get better at catching fraud as it happens.

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