Site last updated: Monday, May 23, 2022

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How to avoid tax fraud

Each year, taxpayers’ personal information is compromised through phishing scams or by unscrupulous tax preparers. IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) wants taxpayers to be aware of tax-related fraud.

“Tax return preparers owe it to their clients to prepare tax returns that are complete, accurate and in compliance with the law,” says CI Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty. “Unfortunately, every tax filing season we see tax return preparers who lie and cheat for a quick buck at the expense of their clients.”

Tips to avoid tax fraud include the following:

* Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.

* Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.

* Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.

* Don’t fall victim to tax preparer’s promises of large refunds. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.

* Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.

* Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s.

* The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up.

* Don’t respond to text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information and hard drive.

* Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return. These messages are fraudulent.

* Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.