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IRS warns: As tax filing season opens next week, be on the lookout for scams

Before the filing season opens on Jan. 23, the IRS is warning people to check who they are filing with.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Filing season opens on Monday, Jan. 23, but before you gather all those pesky documents, the IRS is warning people to look out for scammers.

This part of the year, more than any other, sensitive information is gathered and used for tax filing. 

When looking to file those taxes, always vet the tax professional you intend to use. You can go through the IRS's website to find a preparer's tax identification.  

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If you're someone looking to file your own taxes, the IRS has a free option. 

For families or individuals with $73,000 or less income, the IRS Free File Program provides tax preparation software for free -- but you must start at IRS.gov first. 

Those who make more may choose to find their own software to file their taxes.

"Why wait to file your taxes? It's your money so gather your documents to do so," IRS spokesman Luis Garcia said. "A majority of people will receive a refund, so no reason to wait."

Garcia did say that many people will see lower refunds as many of the programs and incentives rolled out during the pandemic are now expired.

"No stimulus payments, no advanced child tax credit this year," Garcia said. "Many of those larger credits available during the pandemic have gone away."

Garcia also said people should see if they qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit.

"[If] you work hard but don't make a lot of money, you probably qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, don't forget that," Garcia said. "But, you don't get it unless you claim it."

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That credit could be as much as a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand, so a good way to boost that refund if you qualify.

Also, if you are using direct deposit, make sure that your routing and deposit numbers are correct. The IRS uses whatever numbers are provided and many times once that money is sent out, it's very hard to get back.

To check on your refund once filed, head to IRS.gov and click on the "Where's My Refund?" tool on the site.

Contact Colin Mayfield at cmayfield@wcnc.com or follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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