Tax Help

IRS Warns Taxpayers to Choose a Tax Professional Carefully

Hiring someone to handle your taxes can take a real load off your shoulders, but watch out. Not every tax preparer out there is legit, and if you choose the wrong one, you might find yourself in big trouble with the IRS.

Here is how to pick an experienced tax preparer and avoid scammers that could leave you in legal and financial hot water.

Consequences of Choosing a Shady Tax Preparer

While shopping one day, you come across a tiny office tucked away in the corner of a strip mall. A sign on the door proclaims, “We do your taxes for only $50.”

That’s great, you think. You’re busy, and fussing with tax forms and figuring out deductions is the last thing on your mind. So you hire them. What could go wrong?

Quite a lot of things, as it turns out. The preparer might take deductions you’re not entitled to receive, and when the IRS finds out, you may have to pay a lot of money back. Some “preparers” don’t even file your taxes at all. They simply take your money and run.

In a worst-case scenario, you could find yourself staring down the barrel of an IRS audit. An auditor will comb through several years’ worth of your tax returns, and if they find out you’ve done something wrong, you could be in serious trouble. In very rare cases, you might even have to go to jail.

Red Flags to Recognize

Luckily, it’s fairly easy to spot scammers. A reputable tax attorney would encourage you to watch out for the following signs:

  • The preparer doesn’t have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Anyone who charges money for tax preparation must have a PTIN, by law.
  • The preparer bases their fees on a percentage of your refund. That gives the prepare incentive to take deductions you don’t qualify for.
  • You can’t find any information about the preparer’s history, and they shy away from providing you with their qualifications. Even newbie preparers should not have a problem showing you their license.
  • The preparer doesn’t want you to consult with a tax attorney. This likely means they’re up to no good.
  • The preparer asks you to sign a blank return. Once you’ve signed the return, the preparer can do anything they like and ship it off to the IRS, with you being none the wiser.
  • The preparer doesn’t ask you to provide receipts and financial records. This might mean they plan to fudge the numbers on your return.

How to Select the Right Tax Professional

You’ll need to pick a qualified tax professional to stay out of trouble with the IRS. Here’s how:

  • Look for a preparer listed on the Better Business Bureau website. If you choose a tax attorney, check with your State Bar Association. For certified public accountants (CPAs), look at your State Board of Accountancy’s website.
  • Choose a preparer that offers e-filing. If you file your taxes electronically, you can receive a refund faster.
  • Pick a preparer that is available year-round. They may come in handy if you have questions about your return after tax season ends.
  • Ensure the preparer will let you review your tax return before they file it. All legitimate tax professionals will allow you to do this.

Contact Levy & Associates for Tax Guidance

If you’re tired of scam artists and just want a trustworthy tax preparer, reach out to Levy & Associates. Our tax pros will help you claim your refund the right way.

To speak with a tax attorney on our team, call (800) TAX-LEVY.

Contact Levy & Associates for Dependable Tax Audit Services

Levy & Associates is available for free initial consultations. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about the audit process or address any concerns about your specific situation.

There’s never a good time to be audited, and the time-consuming process will take away from your business or family if you try to face it alone. Let us handle and coordinate communication, so you can return to your daily life.