We are now fully into tax filing season and the IRS is issuing a notice about a new scam that could affect you and your federal tax return. The Internal Revenue Service issued a statement warning taxpayers of what they are calling “ghost” tax preparers and how you can avoid getting into business with an unethical tax return preparer.
By law, any person who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid 2019 Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Paid preparers are required to sign the return and include their PTIN on any tax return they prepare. These “ghost” or fake tax preparers are instead not signing the tax return at all and having the taxpayer sign and mail their tax return to the IRS on their own. Even if they prepare your return digitally, they are refusing to sign the document electronically.
The “ghost” preparers are looking to make fast money by promising you a big refund and either charging you based on that tax refund or by charging you a large fee. This hurts honest taxpayers who are just trying to file their tax return and don’t know how to do it on their own. Ghost preparers have certain tricks they use to steal money from taxpayers:
- Require payment in cash only and not provide a receipt.
- Invent income to erroneously qualify their clients for tax credits or claim fake deductions to boost their refunds.
- Direct refunds into their own bank account rather than the taxpayer’s account.
Taxpayers are urged to double check and review their federal and state tax returns entirely before signing it themselves. If you’re not sure, you are allowed to ask questions. Also double check that both the routing and bank account number on the completed tax return are correct for direct deposit.
If you need a qualified and knowledgeable tax return preparer, Polston Tax can help! Our team of tax accountants file hundreds of tax returns each year. We can help you file whether you’re a W2, 1099 or own a business, our team can help you! Give us a call today at 844-841-9857 or click below to schedule a free consultation!