Upstate SC – February 14, 2014 –Anticipated tax refunds can cause consumers to rush to get their taxes filed as soon as possible. However, being careless about selecting tax preparation help could delay an expected refund, and also may open up consumers to fraud and identity theft.The BBB encourages taxpayers to use caution when selecting an outside tax preparer.
“Many consumers seek some form of assistance in filing their returns,” said Vee Daniel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Upstate SC. “Not thoroughly researching the tax preparer can cause problems ranging from minor inconveniences to major troubles. Fines, additional fees and a great deal of hassle can be the outcome.”
Daniel reminded consumers that even though the tax preparer completes the tax return,it’s the taxpayer who is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the paperwork and meeting the filing deadline.
Consumers should also be aware that some tax preparation businesses are open for only a few months every year. It may be hard to track down the preparer if there are problems after a tax service office closes.
The Internal Revenue Service also has issued warnings about online tax-related schemes that can steal taxpayer’s identities. For example, scam emails may state there is an issue with a refund, that the taxpayer is being audited, or that there’s a delay in processing the tax return. Links in the emails usually go to a scammer’s website, which will then ask for Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card information.
“The IRS doesn’t contact taxpayers by email,” noted Daniel, “and it won’t request personal or financial information, or inform you of an audit by email either.”
Here are some tips for selecting a tax preparer:
For more advice on finding professionals you can trust, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.