Warning Signs Your Tax Preparer May Be Fraudulent

  • The person doesn't have a Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. All paid preparers are required to register with the IRS and get a PTIN, which should be included on your tax return.
    • To check that your preparer is legitimate, go to the IRS to search the "Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications."
    • List of licensed Maryland tax preparers.
  • You are asked to sign a blank or partially filled-out tax return, or it is filled out in pencil. Do not sign it as you are liable for the final tax return that is submitted, even if the information is changed after you have signed.
  • Verify that all of the information included on the form is correct before signing. This includes deductions, dependents, income, social security number, name, address, etc.
  • You aren't asked to provide a W-2 or other proof of your earnings, deductions or credits. And certainly, you shouldn’t agree to any false documentation, no matter how desperate you are for a refund.
  • Your preparation fee is based on a percentage of your refund. This can lead to a preparer inflating deductions or credits.
  • A preparer asks you to pay him or her any taxes or penalties owed. You should always (only) make payments directly to the IRS or Comptroller of Maryland (Agency).

If you believe you have been a victim of a fraudulent tax preparer, report the preparer to the IRS using Form 14157. In Maryland, complete Form 129 and contact our office at 1-800-MDTAXES.

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