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Return preparer fraud
The IRS expects around 60 percent of taxpayers to use tax professionals to prepare and file their tax returns. In most cases, those tax return preparers provide honest service to their clients.
But, as in any other business, there are unscrupulous tax pros.
Questionable return preparers have been known to skim off their clients' refunds, charge excessive fees for return preparation services and attract new clients by promising guaranteed or inflated refunds.
Choose your tax pro carefully. Be wary of one who does not have a tax ID number from the IRS. Other warning signs that your tax pro might not be working in your best interest include a requirement that you split the refund to pay his or her preparation fee, refusal to give you a copy of your return, addition of forms to your return that you had not seen before, and the preparer's reluctance to put his or her signature on the return.
When choosing a tax pro, ask about his or her qualifications -- is the preparer an attorney, enrolled agent or CPA? Tax return preparers aren't required to have a professional credential. Nevertheless, the IRS's directory can help you find a qualified preparer.