The tax deadline is quickly approaching. This can lead some taxpayers to take a chance on a tax preparation service that they have not used in the past. Although this may lead to quick completion of your taxes, it could come with serious long-term consequences.
How common are fraudulent tax preparing services? Although most who prepare taxes do so within the confines of the law, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warns that fraudulent preparation services tops the list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams.
What can happen to a taxpayer who is the victim of fraudulent tax services? A taxpayer may not initially be aware when a fraudulent tax preparer completes his or her taxes. Unfortunately, the issue may not come to light until much later. The issue could present itself in the form of an audit by the IRS.
Why would the IRS audit me if the tax preparer broke the law? Unfortunately, the tax preparation may have taken the form of an incomplete or incorrect tax filing. This can lead to an audit of your tax return. The issue was discussed in a recent report by NBC News, noting taxpayers are often conned into using these services with promises of unusually large tax refunds.
How can I protect myself? Taxpayers can take proactive steps to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a tax preparation scam. Some tips include:
- Use a service with a good reputation. Use a tax preparation service that has a good reputation. Ask loved ones and coworkers for recommendations.
- Honesty is still the best policy. A red flag hangs high over tax preparers who encourage the use of falsified numbers. If this strategy is recommended by the service you use, find a new service.
- Be wary of a sliding scale fees. In most cases, it is not a good sign if the preparation service gets paid based on the amount in your return.
It is important to note that anyone that receives notification of an audit from the IRS should take the process seriously. It is wise to contact an experienced tax controversy attorney, like those at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C., to represent your interests and better ensure a more favorable outcome. We have clients nationwide, and can help no matter where in the United States you reside.