by: Kristine Varkony, Nexstar Media Wire
Posted: Feb 9, 2021 / 9:03 AM CST
Updated: February 9, 2021 / 9:03 AM CST
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As they start accepting and processing tax returns late this week, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Department is warning people to make sure they are filing proper tax returns and choosing legitimate tax advisors or accountants on sensitive information.
“When choosing a tax advisor, this is probably one of the most important financial decisions you will make,” said Bryant Jackson, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation at the Cincinnati Field Office. “You should definitely speak to family and friends and ask for recommendations.”
IRS is delaying the start of the tax season until February 12th
However, if a trustworthy option isn’t available, there are some basic tips to avoid handing over unnecessary extra money to someone who offers to pay your taxes.
Tips when choosing a tax advisor:
- Look for a preparer who is available year-round in case questions arise after the filing season.
- Ask if the preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), which is required for paid preparers.
- Inquire about the creator’s credentials and verify their qualifications.
- Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of their client’s refund or claim to offer a larger refund than their competition.
- Never sign and double-check a blank or incomplete return before signing.
- Refunds should go direct to the taxpayer, not the creator.
Q&A With an Accountant: What You Need To Know About Filing Your Taxes For 2020
Jackson says tax accountants can make real mistakes, and these can be pinpointed, but what most people need to be aware of are the schemers who want to steal their information and potential tax returns.
“These people, when it hits our radar, we’ll check it out, have a chat with them, and they’ll acknowledge their mistake, and they’ll get in touch with the taxpayer and fix it and move on.” But we all know whenever an opportunity presents itself an opportunist will take it, ”added Jackson.