Intro: Last year, the I-R-S prosecuted more than 200 people for being bogus tax preparers, including a half-dozen in Washington and Oregon. From filing false returns to convincing clients they didn't need to pay income taxes, the I-R-S investigations division is already busy checking up on a new crop of tax scams. Taxpayers are handing over their Social Security and bank account numbers, investment information and more to their tax preparer... so before they choose one, they should do their own 'investigation,' according to Richard Panick with the I-R-S.
|Cut 175098 :16 "That is one of the things that we warn people about every year (:04) Be very careful when a preparer is basing their fee on a percentage of a promised refund. Or, a preparer who promises they know something special and can get more money for you than anybody else."|
Suggested Tag: He also says you should plan to sit with the preparer if possible as your taxes are being done - and never just sign a blank form and trust them to file it. The agency says about 80 percent of those who hold themselves out as tax professionals and are caught filing fraudulent returns end up serving some prison time.
Alternate Cut: Richard Panick with the I-R-S says it's also a problem if a part-time tax preparer isn't around months later to help, in case a letter comes in from the I-R-S questioning something on the return. It would definitely be a letter, he adds... never an e-mail message.
|Cut 185098 :14 "If they get an e-mail that is purportedly from the Internal Revenue Service – it’s not. We do not initiate taxpayer contact electronically. (:08) If they get such an email, they can send it in to the Internal Revenue Service at ‘phishing’ at IRS-dot-gov."|
Alternate Tag: In this case, the word "fishing" is spelled with a "P-H"... at I-R-S dot-gov. Panick says only C-P-As, enrolled agents and attorneys are allowed to represent taxpayers if their returns are questioned by the I-R-S.