IRS: Choose tax preparers carefully - Tax return preparer fraud makes IRS’ 2019 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of tax scams
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WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today included tax return preparer fraud on its "Dirty Dozen" list of common tax scams for 2019 and offered tips to help taxpayers avoid unscrupulous tax preparers.
With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the most sweeping tax reform legislation in more than 30 years now in effect, some taxpayers may choose to have a paid professional prepare their tax returns this year even if they’ve done it themselves in years past.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to be careful when selecting a tax professional. Though most tax professionals provide honest, high-quality service, a minority of dishonest preparers operate each filing season perpetrating refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt innocent taxpayers.
“Tax professionals provide an incredibly valuable service to taxpayers and our nation’s tax system,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We encourage people to carefully choose who they trust with their most sensitive tax and financial information. There are some simple steps taxpayers can follow to make sure they’re getting good, professional help.“
Tax return preparers are a vital part of the U.S. tax system. During tax-year 2016, the most recent year for which complete figures are available, about 53.5 percent of taxpayers used a paid preparer. Selecting the right tax professional is vitally important. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of their tax return, regardless of who prepares it.
The IRS protects taxpayers by assessing significant civil penalties against shady return preparers and working with the Justice Department to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.
Choose return preparers wisely
It is important to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare a tax return. Well-intentioned taxpayers can be misled by preparers who don’t understand taxes or who mislead people into taking credits or deductions they aren’t entitled to claim. Scam preparers often do this to increase their fee.
Here are a few tips to consider to help avoid fraudsters:
www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro has additional information to help taxpayers including tips on choosing a preparer, the differences in credentials and qualifications, as well as how to submit a complaint regarding an unscrupulous tax return preparer.
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