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Beware of Ghost Tax Return Preparers


Posted on June 19, 2020

Ghost tax return preparers are people that will prepare your tax return without signing it as the preparer and often promises big refunds.  If someone promises you a big refund without even looking at your income or your expenses, that person is probably a ghost tax return preparer and you should avoid this person at all costs.  If your tax return preparer refuses to sign the tax return that he or she prepared, again, you should avoid this person at all costs.  Under law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assist with the preparation of a tax return must have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), they must sign the tax returns that they prepared and they must include their PTIN on the tax return when it is filed.  If a tax return preparer refuses to sign your tax return as the preparer, this is a huge red flag.  If you get a huge refund from a tax return prepared by a ghost tax return preparer, it initially feels good because you got a big refund.  However, the IRS will ultimately realize that you received a refund that you should not have received and will demand that you repay the erroneous refund plus taxes, plus penalties and interest. You can even go to jail! Here at IRS Trouble Solvers, we routinely see tax returns prepared by ghost tax return preparers.  The typical refund is between $5,000.00 and $7,000.00 per year.  When the IRS demands the repayment of that refund, the balance due is often close to $10,000.00 per year when you include penalties and interest.  Multiplying this figure out for three or four years, you can suddenly owe the IRS between $30,000.00 and $40,000.00.

Do you have tax returns that were already filed by a ghost tax return preparer?  Did you receive refunds to which you are probably not entitled?  Call us, we can help!


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