The promise of getting a big tax return may sound appealing, but the IRS says you should be wary of a tax preparer who promises to get you a specific amount of money.
“South Florida has a huge return preparer problem,” said Jennifer Kuehl, a special agent with IRS Criminal Investigations in Miami. “Ultimately, taxpayers are responsible for the information that’s put on their tax return.”
That’s why Kuehl recommends using a reputable return preparer, who will ask questions and review your tax return with you before you sign it.
“Someone who signs their name as the preparer on your tax return,” said Kuehl. “Someone who uses their PTIN number, their preparer tax identification number, at the bottom of your tax return.”
Be careful with someone who bases their fee on the amount of your refund. Kuehl said you should be charged the same amount regardless of how much you’re getting back. And never sign a blank tax form.
“That just gives them free range to just put whatever information on there that they want to,” she said.
The IRS has a criminal investigations hotline where you can report someone who is committing identity theft or preparing false tax returns. That number is 305-982-5151.
You can also research a tax preparer on the IRS website by clicking here.