LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- As tax season winds down, consumers who have not yet finished, or started, their returns can become targets for certain scams when under pressure.
The important first step to get started is to collect the basic paperwork. Get your social security numbers, wages and earning statements like W-2s and a copy of last year's return. If you plan to have your refund directly deposited or a payment automatically withdrawn, bank routing and bank account numbers should also be included.
When looking for a tax preparer during peak season, make sure to take the extra step to check that person through a service like the Better Business Bureau. Consumer Reports advises asking preparers for a fee list up front because some will try to tack on extra charges under headings like "processing" or "document preparation."
You may also be offered a prepaid debit card so you can start spending a refund more quickly, but be mindful of fees attached to those cards.
If you can, the best bet is to wait for the IRS to directly deposit the money into your bank account.
If you decide to crunch the numbers on your own, using tax preparation software can help to minimize the risk of last-minute math errors, just be sure to work over a secure internet connection.