What are "Ghost Tax Preparers"? What You Need to Know

DATE_PUBLISHED

Tax season is a time for increased financial awareness and worry. Unfortunately, there are often individuals who take advantage of these vulnerabilities to trick consumers. A common example of this phenomenon takes place with “ghost” tax preparers, who prepare your tax returns and then ask you to submit them -- something that is usually the tax preparer’s job. Since paid preparers must provide their Preparer Tax Identification (PTIN) Number with returns, encountering a ghost preparer may indicate you’ve run into someone who is not qualified to prepare your return in the first place.

Likewise, there are a few other key indicators of ghost preparers, including:

  • Requiring cash payments without a receipt
  • Inventing income to qualify clients for tax credits
  • Directing refunds into their own account and not the taxpayer’s
  • Claiming false deductions to inflate the refund size

It’s important to exercise caution and do your research when looking for a tax preparer. This way, you can prevent encountering ghost preparers and keep your tax season running smoothly. The IRS provides a comprehensive Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers that can help you find one -- or, you can use a service like Taxfyle!

At Taxfyle, we connect you to a certified CPA in minutes. We do the background-checking and vetting, so you can confide in our service and get your taxes done faster than ever. No ghost preparers to be found here. Try out Taxfyle today!

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