(NEW YORK) — Tax season is here and this year, you can’t file your tax return soon enough.
By filing early, you both raise the odds of getting your refund faster and lessen the odds of becoming a victim of identity theft, experts say.
Monday is the first day the IRS will begin accepting 2017 tax returns.
The average refund for Americans in 2016 was $2,895, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The agency said 90 percent of tax refunds will be issued within 21 days.
Here are four other tips and things to know about filing your taxes this year.
1. You don’t need to worry about the new tax laws. The tax bill signed into law by President Donald Trump last December won’t affect your returns until next year.
2. The IRS is cracking down on fraud. The agency said it stopped more than 750,000 phony tax returns last year. A Social Security number can only be used once, so filing your tax returns early will allow you to use your own Social Security number before a potential identity thief can.
3. Your W-2 form will look different. As another layer of fraud protection, the IRS has added verification codes to some 50 million forms in Box 9. Last year, just 2 million forms had the verification code.
4. You can go mobile. You can check the status of your refund easily on your phone by downloading the IRS2Go app or visiting www.irs.gov/refunds.
Bonus: Tips for first-time filers.
1. Look out for tax forms in the mail from your employer or anyone you may have worked for as an independent contractor. Most of these forms should be sent by the end of January.
2. For student loan deductions, your lender should send you a Form 1098-E toward the beginning of the year which will include the amount of interest you paid. The most student loan interest you can claim as a deduction is $2,500 and it is also limited by your income.
3. Look out for other deductions that could apply to you, such as mortgage interest, tuition, education costs and charitable gifts.
4. Don’t forget about state taxes, which are also due at the same time as federal taxes. Check the laws in your state to what tax breaks are available.
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