CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia Attorney General (AG) Patrick Morrisey wants to remind consumers to research the tax agency they use when they file their taxes. The deadline to file taxes was pushed back to Wednesday, July 15, 2020, due to the pandemic.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates more than half of taxpayers hire a professional when it comes time to file their returns.
“It pays to be careful and to do your research,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Most tax preparers are ethical, competent and professional. Those who are not, though, can end up costing you not only a portion of your refund but perhaps all of your personal, identifiable information.”
The release stated to protect yourself from fraud tax prepares, consumers should ask for the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) to ensure the number’s validity and check the U.S. IRS list found on their website.
Legitimate tax agencies will ask for records and receipts, and will never ask a client to sign a blank tax return. Consumers should make sure tax agencies sign and include their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number.
Other tips to consider if hiring a tax preparer are:
- Research tax preparers online, through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or from friends’ recommendations to ensure a good review
- Make sure the tax preparer offers e-file. Anyone who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients generally must do so electronically
- Make sure tax preparer will be available after filing the return should any questions arise about the filed tax return
When sending your taxes through the mail, you should also use caution, as tax identity thieves are known to steal tax documents from mailboxes and send legitimate-looking emails to phish for personal information.
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