Back to top

LBCPA News

Click here to go back

IRS: DON'T BE VICTIM TO A `GOSHT´ TAX RETURN PREPARER

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 11 2019

t

Today, towards the end of the second full week of the 2019 tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers to avoid unethical tax return preparers, known as ghost preparers.

By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid 2019 Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. Paid preparers must sign the return and include their PTIN.

But ‘ghost’ preparers do not sign the return. Instead, they print the return and tell the taxpayer to sign and mail it to the IRS. Or, for e-filed returns, they prepare but refuse to digitally sign it as the paid preparer.

According to the IRS, similar to other tax preparation schemes, dishonest and unscrupulous ghost tax return preparers look to make a fast buck by promising a big refund or charging fees based on a percentage of the refund. These scammers hurt honest taxpayers who are simply trying to do the right thing and file a legitimate tax return.

Ghost tax return preparers may also:

  • 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.
  •  

The IRS urges taxpayers to review their tax return carefully before signing and ask questions if something is not clear. And for any direct deposit refund, taxpayers should make sure both the routing and bank account number on the completed tax return are correct.

The IRS offers tips to help taxpayers choose a tax return preparer wisely. The Choosing a Tax Professional page has information about tax preparer credentials and qualifications. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help identify many preparers by type of credential or qualification.

Taxpayers can report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

The information provided on the LBCPA Blog is a community service for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors who specialize in the topics covered. Please refer to your advisors for specific advice on these subjects. The information is not intended to be used, and it cannot be used, for the purposes of avoiding U.S. Federal and/or State tax laws or the tax laws of any foreign jurisdiction.

These blogs contain general information only and Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC or any of the other companies or firms presenting information are not providing accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC or any of the other companies or firms contributing with articles shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this information.

Add New Comment