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Issue Number: Tax Tip 2023-19
What taxpayers should know when choosing a tax professional
Many taxpayers turn to tax professionals to help them prepare their federal tax return. These taxpayers should choose their preparer with care. While most tax return preparers provide quality service, unfortunately some are unreliable or even fraudulent. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for all the information on their income tax return, regardless of who prepares the return.
Taxpayers can review these IRS resources when choosing their tax preparer:
When using a tax return preparer, taxpayers should:
“Ghost” tax preparer warning signs
By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assists in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number. Paid preparers must sign and include their PTIN on any tax return they prepare. Not signing a return is a red flag that the paid preparer may be looking to make a quick profit by promising a big refund or charging fees based on the size of the refund. Taxpayers should avoid these unethical “ghost” tax return preparers.
How to report preparer misconduct
Taxpayers can report preparer misconduct to the IRS using Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax return preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. Both these forms are available on the Make a Complaint About a Tax Return Preparer page of IRS.gov.
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