IRS on April 10 cautioned taxpayers to avoid the dangers of working with so-called “ghost” tax return preparers.
As described by the agency, a ghost preparer is retained to prepare a return for a fee but does not sign the document as the paid preparer. “These phantom preparers who won’t put their name on the tax return are a warning sign for taxpayers of a potential scam“, IRS said.
Ghost preparers follow several patterns. In one method, they will print the paper return and instruct their client to sign and mail it to IRS. The second method is to prepare an electronically-filed return but they will not digitally sign them as the paid preparer. “By doing so, the tax return appears to be self-prepared, with no indication that a paid tax preparer was used in completing the tax return – helping keep the return preparer under the radar”, IRS said. The agency stressed that anyone who preparers or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation must have a valid 2018 Preparer Tax Identification Number.
If your return was prepared by a “ghost preparer” please call me today. I will refer you to a real preparer to check your return for fraud and major errors. It is better to file an amended return correcting the errors now rather than waiting for an IRS or State audit.