What you need to know before filing your 2017 taxes

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With new tax laws in place and scams on the rise, many people are wondering what that means for their 2017 returns.

Tax season officially began Monday. With new tax laws in place and scams on the rise, many people are wondering what that means for their 2017 returns.

Robert Baltzell from RLB Financial provided answers to many of the questions you may have about your taxes this year.

Q: What is the first change I'll notice from the tax overhaul?

A: Baltzell said most people will begin to notice the tax law changes in their paychecks. "A lot of us should start seeing around February a pay increase or raises that we take home on our paychecks."

Q: What about filing our taxes? When will that change?

A: For the 2017 filing period, the previous tax guidelines still apply, Baltzell said. You'll still have to file your taxes by April 15 as usual. Next year's filing period, however, may get a little more complex for some, Baltzell said.

Q: Why should tax filers be extra vigilant when it comes to scammers this year?

A: Around 143 million people were affected by the Equifax data breach in 2017, Baltzell said. Scammers who may have access to your stolen social security number can file fraudulent returns in your name and collect your refund.

Q: What can I do to protect myself from scams?

A: Always read any mail you may receive from the IRS, look for red flags and file your taxes as early as you can, Baltzell advised.

Q: What should I do this year to prepare for tax changes next year?

A: Baltzell advises checking the withholding amount in your paycheck. "Make sure that you're not withholding too much," Baltzell said. The IRS keeps your withholdings interest-free, so you're better off having your money when you may need it most. Before making any changes, however, always consult with your financial adviser, Baltzell said.
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