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How To Avoid Fraudulent Tax Preparers This Season

Tax fraud reporting form CREDIT: irs.gov
Tax fraud reporting form CREDIT: irs.gov

No matter who does your taxes, once you sign on the dotted line, you are responsible for them. 

Ryan Thompson of the IRS said tax fraud is rampant this time of year. And there are ways to spot would-be crooks. 

"For example, what I've seen before is, I'm getting you a significantly larger refund than you're going to get somewhere else, I want 50% of the refund. That's not legitimate and taxpayers need to know to stay away from those types of schemes," he said.

Thompson said to avoid "fly-by-night" preparers, make sure you review the return with the preparer and ask for your own copy, ask the preparer if they have their own IRS Preparer Tax Identification Numbers, and ask to see credentials, such as a C.P.A., an accounting degree, or make sure you work with someone from a reputable company, such as H & R Block, or Jackson-Hewitt. 

Irs.govhas a list of known tax scams. And how to select a tax professional

Thompson said he has seen auto repair shops hang a shingle out at tax time saying, "have your taxes done here." He said that's clearly not legitimate.

And most of all, he said, there is no "magic formula to get out of your tax obligation!"  

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Susan Giles Wantuck is our midday news host, and a producer and reporter for WUSF Public Media who focuses her storytelling on arts, culture and history.
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