Ahead of Tax Day, Department of Justice’s Tax Division Issues Warning about Fraudulent Tax Preparers
Income taxes must be filed by April 18
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - April 18 is Tax Day and if you still have yet to file your taxes, the Department of Justice wants you to be careful about who you pick to prepare your return.
The department’s Tax Division says there are some dishonest preparers out there who may falsify deductions or could fraudulently inflate refunds.
“We’re trying to protect the public from unscrupulous tax return preparers,” said Scott Clark, Chief of the Civil Trial Section, Central Region in Department of Justice Tax Division.
Clark says there are some warning signs to look out for fraudulent preparers.
“If you’re have a tax return preparer who won’t sign the return and wants you to sign it and send it to the IRS after they’ve prepared it. Big red flag. If you have a tax return preparer who’s going to deposit the refund if you’re receiving a refund into their own account, big red flag,” said Clark.
Other possible signs include charging a fee based on the size of your refund or asking you to sign a blank return.
You can also check if your preparer is federally credentialed by heading to a directory on the IRS website.
The Justice Department says it is prosecuting these fraudulent preparers, but Clark also said that taxpayers who work with them could be held liable too
“Taxpayers are responsible for what’s on their tax return. They’re supposed to sign it and swear that everything’s honest and accurate, even if it’s prepared by a tax return preparer. So if the preparer has engaged in some misconduct that they don’t understand or they weren’t privy to, or even if they were part of the problem, they’re on the hook, if they received a refund they weren’t entitled to,” he said.
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