Every tax season is different in some ways because of the new tax laws, IRS initiatives, improvements in IRS services, and differences in taxpayers’ financial and/or personal status. Along with catching up with the changes, taxpayers also need to remain safe from tax scams during the tax season, including tax preparer fraud and identity theft.
If you are not preparing your tax return yourself, you need to ensure that you choose an honest and competent tax preparer. There are two methods through which scammers defraud taxpayers and the IRS. One is by stealing the identity of a taxpayer and filing a fraudulent return on the taxpayer’s behalf. The second, used by unscrupulous tax preparers, is altering the information on a tax return without the knowledge of the taxpayer to pocket the refund money.
To remain protected, you need to be careful. If you have your tax return prepared by a professional tax preparer, make sure you have your preparer’s Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) in your records. Before filing, review all the information entered on the return. It is advisable to file the return yourself using the IRS’ electronic filing service. This will guarantee that the information you have entered on your return remains as it is.
Apart from your preparer, never share your tax information with unverified sources, as it could lead to identity theft. To minimize the threat of phishing, file your return as early as possible.