Beware of tax-time scams; do homework when finding a preparer

Press Staff Writer

        Tax season is once again upon us, and time for me to remind everyone about the numerous tax scams that are flourishing out there.
        There are different types of tax scams, but one of the most dangerous is one that scammers use to get your personal information that can lead to your bank accounts being cleaned out.
        You may receive an email or a text or see something online advertising a tax preparation service that is willing to file your taxes for a very low fee or no fee at all. This should serve as a red flag.
        It is natural for a legitimate tax preparer to ask you for your name, Social Security number and date of birth. It also makes sense to give that tax preparer your bank name, bank account number and routing number for that bank so the Internal Revenue Service can make a direct deposit of your refund or to make a payment to the IRs, if that is necessary.
        All that personal information is financially lethal in the hands of scammers.
        One type of scam is one in which someone offers computer software that makes filing your taxes very simple. Instead of sending your information to the IRS, the software is actually sending it to a scammer.
        Do a little homework
        Also note: Be wary of tax preparers who may not know what they are doing. You may or may not worry about this type of person taking your personal information and doing unscrupulous things with it, but you do have to worry about them getting you in trouble with the IRS.
        For example, they may tell you some expenses you incur are tax deductible when they are actually not. This may lead you into an audit by the IRS. Ask anyone who has been audited by the IRS and they will tell you it is no fun. And once you have been audited, your chances of having to undergo another one is much greater.
        You can avoid these scams by doing a bit of homework.
        If it is your first time with any tax preparer, take a few minutes to check them out. Ask friends and family who they have used in the past and if they felt comfortable dealing with them.
        Find out how long that tax preparer has been in business and if they have done business in any other locations.
        Just because a tax preparer works for a tax service, it does not automatically mean he or she has a full knowledge of the tax codes.
        You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if others have had issues with a certain tax preparer.
        You can avoid many of the problems I have outlined above by dealing with a well-established local tax preparer who has a good reputation in the community.
        This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association