APPLETON, Wis.(WFRV)- Tax season is officially underway and with pandemic-related staffing issues, there is some advice that you file sooner than later.

“You definitely want to file early if you are getting a return,” said Joe Felion, an accountant with Erickson & Associates, S.C. Felion told Local 5’s Eric Richards the reports about the Internal Revenue Service being short-staffed are accurate. “I have clients who are still waiting on returns from last filing season, they are extremely short staffed,” said Felion.

Millions of Americans received child tax credits during 2021 due to the pandemic. “Of course there was a tax credit before the pandemic. It was for less money and went to fewer families and was only paid out during tax season,” said Jane Crawford, CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent. Crawford tells CBS Mornings, over 35 million eligible families have been able to receive up to $300 per child. “This temporary child tax credit has been going out every month since July,” said Crawford.

Steve O’Rourke, the owner of O’Rourke Tax Service Inc, says taxpayers who received their child tax credits, can easily reconcile them on their tax form. ” Assuming the taxpayer got their $1,500 or $250 dollars a month for the last 6 months, they would get form 6419 in the mail from the Internal Revenue Service,” said O’Rourke

Tax time is prime time for cybercriminals, who will use tactics to try and obtain your personal information. That can come in the form of phishing emails and text messages. “People should hover over the sender email, if it’s something they aren’t expecting and looks fishy, they need to contact the sender via phone on a trusted line,” said Aliah Cadena, cybersecurity expert.

Malware could lift all of your personal information. The IRS says they will never send you threatening emails or text messages asking you for payment. They also say they will never ask for payment in cryptocurrency or prepaid gift cards.

The deadline for filing your tax return is April 18th. For most taxpayers who file a tax return with no issues, the IRS anticipates they will receive their refund within 21 days if they file electronically. If you need assistance, you can reach out to your local tax preparer or visit the IRS website, which has links to free tax filing assistance.