The IRS has reported an increase in tax-related identity theft in recent years. With tax season upon us, Mary Ann Dunwell with the Department of Revenue has some advice on how to decrease the rate of tax-related identity theft in Montana.

"File your state individual income tax as early as you can because the sooner you file your state income taxes, the less likely that a fraudster will file for you and try to upscond with the refund that is due you," Dunwell said. "So, the earlier the better."

Dunwell said the DOR has already seen fraudulent tax returns.

"I can tell you in recent years what we've seen is just more and more fraudulent tax returns as this problem of identity theft has increased nationwide," Dunwell said. "Last tax season, the number of fraudulent returns we stopped was 1,728. We saved Montanans $1.8, almost $1.9 million."

Dunwell said the tax deadline this year is April 18.