Consumer Alert: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Tax Fraud When Having 2012 Taxes Professionally Prepared – a GoBankingRates.com Report

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As taxpayers hire tax professionals to prepare their 2012 returns, some will ultimately find they have become the victims of accounting fraud. Top online personal finance resource http://www.GoBankingRates.com investigates the warning signs of a professional who commits tax fraud and provides a guide to avoiding this rare but damaging predicament.

Tax Fraud

Tax Fraud

When you sign your tax return, you're personally guaranteeing that everything is accurate and true. Even if it was your accountant who made a mistake and not you, in the eyes of the IRS, you're ultimately responsible.

With tax season in full swing, more than half of taxpayers will turn to professional accountants to have their 2012 returns prepared, according to MainStreet.com's "5 Signs You've Got a Lousy Tax Preparer." However, while most are honest and hardworking, not all tax professionals operate according to the law. Go Banking Rates investigated how consumers can avoid unknowingly committing tax fraud by hiring an unscrupulous accountant.

Go Banking Rates found several strategies that consumers can use to ensure they have hired a legitimate tax preparer and avoid instances of tax fraud.

The first step is to identify the preparer's personal tax identification number (PTIN), which is required of all paid tax preparers. Additionally, all hired tax professionals should be engaged in ongoing education to keep up with evolving tax laws, and consumers are encouraged to inquire whether the tax preparer they hire up to date on training.

Further tips to avoid becoming a victim of accounting fraud include looking up the tax preparer with the Better Business Bureau and finding out if there are any complaints against the person, as well as emailing the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility at opr(at)irs(dot)gov to confirm that your tax preparer is in good standing.

"When you sign your tax return, you're personally guaranteeing that everything is accurate and true," explains Go Banking Rates managing editor, Casey Bond. "Even if it was your accountant who made a mistake and not you, in the eyes of the IRS, you're ultimately responsible."
Ms. Bond adds, "Hiring a reputable tax preparer will ensure that the information you submit to the IRS is correct."

View the full guide to avoiding tax fraud – including identifying warning signs – here.

For questions about this report or to schedule an interview with a Go Banking Rates editor, please use the contact information below.

About Go Banking Rates

GoBankingRates.com is a national website dedicated to connecting readers with the best interest rates on financial services nationwide, as well as informative personal finance content, news and tools. Go Banking Rates collects interest rate information from more than 4,000 U.S. banks and credit unions, making it the only online rates aggregator with the ability to provide the most comprehensive and authentic local interest rate information.

Contact:

Jaime Catmull, Director of Public Relations
GoBankingRates.com
JaimeC(at)GoBankingRates(dot)com
310.297.9233 x261

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