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Consumer Beware: Tax-time tips to keep you safe

The headline of the first article in the February IRS newsletter reads: Don't be victim to a 'ghost' tax return preparer.

Wow! What next! The IRS is now warning taxpayers about unscrupulous tax preparers, known as ‘ghost’ tax return preparers. These individual preparers do not sign the return, instead they are instructing the taxpayer to sign themselves and mail to the IRS.

These preparers are making some quick fees based on their aggressive write offs and generous refunds.

By law, paid tax preparers must sign the return and include their tax ID numbers.  According to the IRS these ‘ghost’ 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 for their tax refunds. 
  • Direct funds into their own bank account rather than the taxpayers account.

Taxpayers need to read their return carefully and ask questions on any unclear write offs. For more information on choosing an ethical tax preparer go to: . This link summarizes 10 tips taxpayers should understand when selecting a preparer according to IRS tax tip 2018-02 release January 4, 2018.

For more tax-time tips, contact Jim Spaniol at Falcon National Bank


Jim Spaniol

Business Development Manager