To add to the stress of taxes, identity theft to claim refunds is on the rise, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

The IRS considers this a growing problem as thieves file fake tax returns using someone else’s social-security number. It can take victims months or sometimes years to clean up the case and it is an expensive process.

Besides being a big hassle, it delays a refund, which causes financial plans to be shifted when they expected money doesn’t come.

"Every one of these clients is upset and venting — I want to pay for my cruise, do this, do that," Byron Shinn, a Florida accountant, told the Wall Street Journal. "I've got to deliver the bad news."

The most common victims are the elderly or the young. Shinn, suggested getting a special identification number, which is available from the IRS. It allows taxpayers to show they are the real filer of a return.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com