Whew, I filed my taxes: Now what? Did you know that according to the IRS, even if a tax return is prepared by someone else, you are legally responsible for it? Make sure your tax preparer has signed the returns they prepared and entered their required Preparer Tax Identification Number. They are also supposed to be available to you after the April due date in case questions arise.
Check them out: It’s never too late to check on your tax preparer’s history with the BBB at www.bbb.org; through the state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants or attorneys; or the IRS Office of Enrollment for enrolled agents.
Refunds: When you get your refund, it should be mailed to you or deposited into an account in your name – never into a preparer’s bank account.
Email security: Be skeptical of any emails supposedly from the IRS warning of a problem with your return. The legitimate IRS website is www.irs.gov. Never click a link in an email from unknown persons. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through email or social media. If it needs to reach you, it will send you something in the mail, and it will have its phone number on it.
Turn them in: Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, the Office of Professional Responsibility, or EFTPS to email@example.com. EFTPS stands for the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. The most recent IRS phishing scam emails have concerned “stimulus payments,” the supposed rejection of your business “federal tax payment,” and “fiscal activity.” Like most phishing emails the typical grammar, spelling and logic are extremely poor. If you have experienced a monetary loss due to an IRS-related incident, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission to make that information available to investigators. (www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov)
Fraud and abuse: You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS on Form 14157. The forms are available at the IRS website and also by calling 800-829-3676.
More info or report scams: Visit the BBB at www.bbb.org. Call (509) 455-4200 or 800-356-1007.
Holly Doering, BBB editor