Now that you have your W2s, it's time to file your taxes and the IRS says the sooner the better. The reason is actually not designed to prevent procrastination that can contribute to a backlog of unprocessed returns on April 15th, it's more to protect your identity and prevent tax refund fraud. Tax refund fraud happens when someone files your tax return before you do and collects your refund. When you do your taxes, you find out that your return has already been filed and your refund processed. Although it sounds unlikely, but the IRS rejected or suspended 4.8 million suspicious returns during processing. Even if you feel like you have your details locked down pretty well, filing your tax return as early as you’re able cuts your risk of getting scammed. For an extra layer of protection, he recommended getting an IRS IP PIN. It’s a six-digit number assigned by the IRS to verify your identity when you file your tax return, instead of only relying on your Social Security Number as proof of your identity. Once you have a PIN, you’ll use it every time you file a return through tax software or with a tax professional. However if your tax return gets rejected because there’s already a return filed in your name, complete Form 14039, the Identity Theft Affidavit. It’s a PDF that you can fill out and print; then you have to actually mail it in to the IRS. You can also skip the affidavit if you want and submit the form electronically during your next step: reporting your identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. If you’ve been victim of identity theft resulting in a fraudulent return, you can request a copy of the transcript of the fraudulent tax return submitted in your name.