Watch out for fake tax preparers who steal your identity

Source: Herb Weisbaum, NBC News

Paid preparers are an integral part of the U.S. tax system. They do about 60 percent of all the returns each year, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS recently warned about unscrupulous preparers, calling it one of the most common "Dirty Dozen" tax scams.

Hines shared a few "red flags" that signal a preparer is dishonest:

  • They want you to sign a blank return. You wouldn't sign a blank check; don't sign a blank return.
  • They say their fee is based on the size of your refund. This is a violation of IRS rules because it's an incentive to cheat.

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