Tax season advice and tips to avoid tax scams

MOSCOW, ID - It's officially tax season, and while accountants are urging us not to wait until the last minute, police are cautioning us about IRS scams that tend to pop up this time of year.

Let's see what the local experts have to say.

"Get started early, and if you have a refund coming back, you're going to be before the big rush into the IRS, so it's a good thing," said Lewiston H&R Block CEO John Blankenship.

Blankenship said now's a good time to file taxes. But before you do, you'll want to make sure you don't overlook any deductions.

"Itemized deductions that people miss, education credits is a real common one that sometimes get overlooked," said Blankenship. "It's a myriad of things."

While there's a wide variety of do-it-yourself software, many people turn to a tax professional. And if that's the case, Blankenship said the more paperwork the merrier.

"It's better to have too much laying on the table when I'm preparing your tax return, versus not having enough and sending somebody home with a homework list to gather up more information, so that we can do a complete and proper tax return for them," said Blankenship.

You also want to remember to guard your identity, because tax season comes with a seasonal phone scam.

"You'll get unsolicited telephone calls from somebody sounding official," said Pullman Police Commander Chris Tenant. "May give you a name, badge number, claiming to be an IRS agent, and that you mysteriously owe the IRS money."

Tennant said they've already had a few reports of fraudulent IRS phone calls this year.

"You know, if you have caller ID, it might even come up on caller ID that it's the IRS," said Tennant.

But the good news is protecting yourself is easy.

"Just hang up when you get these calls," said Tennant. "Do not go out and wire transfers or anything else."

Just remember that the IRS doesn't call or send e-mails.