Justice Department warns of fraudulent tax preparers

Justice Department officials are warning the public to beware of fraudulent tax preparers and tax scheme promoters

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Justice is warning taxpayers to beware of fraudulent tax return preparers and tax scheme promoters.

In a news release the Justice Department said with tax season in full swing, the public is urged to avoid dishonest tax-return preparers who fleece their customers and illegally drain the U.S. Treasury.  Noting that every taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the contents of his or her own return, Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Tax Division also warned the public to be wary of anyone who guarantees a refund or who claims to sell a sure-fire way to reduce your taxes.

“Every year, thousands of federal income tax returns are prepared by people who care much more about making a quick buck than about preparing accurate returns,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo.  “Most tax return preparers are honest.  But some preparers who charge clients a percentage of their tax refund intentionally prepare false returns to increase their clients’ refund, and thus their own fees.

Ciraolo outlined some things to think about or watch out for when dealing with tax preparers.

  • Your refund should never be deposited directly into a tax preparer’s bank account.
  • Never sign a blank return or a blank form, or sign a return or a form without reading it first.
  • Don’t use a preparer who mischaracterizes your expenses.
  • Don’t use a preparer who fabricates business expenses or deductions, or who claims bogus credits to which you’re not entitled, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the child care credit or the education credit.

The law sates every taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the contents of his or her own tax return, Ciraolo said.

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