By Jim Donovan

by Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s officially tax season. The IRS is now accepting electronic tax returns.

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But, as 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan explains, there are some things you should know if you plan to file your taxes early.

Millions of Americans will soon put their most sensitive personal and financial information in the hands of Uncle Sam.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a tax preparer wisely.

The IRS says, always make sure that your tax preparer has an IRS tax preparer identification number, avoid tax preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund, and be suspicious if your tax preparer doesn’t ask for receipts.

If your preparer doesn’t ask enough questions about deductions and credits, that could be a warning sign that something is wrong.

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Also, never sign a blank tax return.

Tax time is also prime season for identity theft.

Never give your personal information over the phone or online, unless you started the conversation and can confirm the identity of your tax professional or an IRS employee.

Some common examples of identity theft from tax returns include finding out that more than one tax return was filed using the same social security number, or records that indicate you received wages or other income from an employer you didn’t work for.

The IRS, individual states, and the tax industry have enact new safeguards to combat tax-related identity theft.

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