TAMPA — With the tax filing season set t begin on Jan. 24, the Internal Revenue Service released tips to avoid tax season fraud:
1. Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.
2. Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.
3. Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.
4. Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.
5. Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.
6. Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s.
7. The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up.
8. 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.
9. Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return. These messages are fraudulent.
10. 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.
Each year, taxpayers’ personal information is compromised through phishing scams or by unscrupulous tax preparers.
“Just like you choose a doctor or lawyer, choosing a tax preparer should be as important of a decision since you are ultimately responsible for everything on your tax form,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne.
“IRS-CI is the investigative arm of the IRS, and this tax season, we want to remind U.S. taxpayers about ways they can protect their wallets and personal information,” said IRS-CI Chief Jim Lee.