tax scam

Ghost Tax Preparers and Scams

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An important tax tip for 2022 is to get your taxes done early because you don’t want to be caught with a last minute surprise about owing money to the IRS. This next tax tip for 2022 might sound obvious but it needs repeating: choose your tax return preparer carefully.

Every year there are Ghost preparers who rip off taxpayers. A ghost preparer is a paid tax preparer who doesn’t sign returns and tried to hide their identity from the IRS.

By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assists in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. Paid preparers must sign and include their PTIN on the return. Not signing a return is a red flag that the paid preparer may be looking to make a fast buck by promising a big refund or charging fees based on the size of the refund.

Unscrupulous tax return preparers may also:

  • Require payment in cash only and not provide a receipt.
  • Invent income to qualify their clients for tax credits.
  • Claim fake deductions to boost the size of the refund.
  • Direct refunds into their bank account, not the taxpayer’s account.

Choose a tax return preparer wisely.

Taxpayers should verify both their routing and bank account number on the completed tax return for any direct deposit refund. And taxpayers should watch out for preparers putting their bank account information onto the returns.

Remember Legal Tax Defense will give you a free consultation. It really is a free consultation about your tax issues. In many cases, they can tell you how to fix your tax problems yourself without paying them a cent.

Disclaimer: Alan Mendelson is a well-known TV consumer news reporter who reports on tax issues. You should seek professional advice if you have tax questions or issues. 


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