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24 February 2020 / Individuals

What are "Ghost Tax Preparers"? What You Need to Know

24 February 2020 > Individuals

Tax season is a time for increased financial awareness and worry. Unfortunately, there are often individuals who take advantage of these vulnerabilities to trick consumers. A common example of this phenomenon takes place with “ghost” tax preparers, who prepare your tax returns and then ask you to submit them -- something that is usually the tax preparer’s job. Since paid preparers must provide their Preparer Tax Identification (PTIN) Number with returns, encountering a ghost preparer may indicate you’ve run into someone who is not qualified to prepare your return in the first place. 

Likewise, there are a few other key indicators of ghost preparers, including: 

  • Requiring cash payments without a receipt

  • Inventing income to qualify clients for tax credits

  • Directing refunds into their own account and not the taxpayer’s

  • Claiming false deductions to inflate the refund size

It’s important to exercise caution and do your research when looking for a tax preparer. This way, you can prevent encountering ghost preparers and keep your tax season running smoothly. The IRS provides a comprehensive Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers that can help you find one -- or, you can use a service like Taxfyle

At Taxfyle, we connect you to a certified CPA in minutes. We do the background-checking and vetting, so you can confide in our service and get your taxes done faster than ever. No ghost preparers to be found here. Try out Taxfyle today!

Antonio Del Cueto

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