Tax scams common this time of year

There are different way crooked tax preparers can defraud people.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 4:20 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s estimated about 56% of taxpayers use a tax preparer to complete their returns.

It can be a complicated process. The taxpayer may need an extension, or they want the largest return possible. But because the professional tax preparer is privy to so much private information--specifically financial information, they must register not only with the Internal Revenue Service but here in Nevada, the Secretary of State’s Office.

“For folks that are doing document preparation services; which is what tax preparers are considered, they also have to get that special registration in our office,” says Maggie Salas Crespo, Deputy Secretary of State who is in charge of document preparation service inside the office.

Sala Crespo says this time of year, the office sees a lot of fraudulent tax preparers ready to separate you from your money--or worse yet your identity.

She says to beware if a tax preparation service crops up out of nowhere. She says consumers want a nationally known tax preparer or one that’s been around a while and all year long. And she says to make sure the preparer is registered with the Secretary of State’s Office. Also, they must have an IRS number.

One of the most common scams? The preparer does your taxes, the next step is crucial.

“Once you are done completing your taxes that person signs the document,” says Salas Crespo. “If they don’t sign, that’s a sign that they are not legitimate.”

Other more egregious practices?

Simply taking tax forms and never getting back to you. That may mean they file in your name and get your tax return. You won’t know it until you file, and the IRS says it’s already been done.

The fake tax preparers may just take all of your personal financial information and steal your identity. You are left re-establishing yourself, and your finances, and clearing things up with the IRS.

Here are some helpful links to help you avoid becoming a victim of one of these scams: