Tax laws are too complicated for a lot of everyday Iowans, and many turn to tax preparers to handle their returns. Federal forms are due in less than three weeks. Special Agent John Nunez, with the IRS in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says they’re on the lookout for fraud cases involving tax preparers.
Nunez says "We usually get reports or get information of about an average of five to fifteen a year. A lot of time, during tax preparation time, we get a little more of an increase in those reports." Nunez says most tax preparers are on the up-and-up but some do not have your best interests at heart.
Nunez says "You want to make sure that person is trustworthy because you are sharing your Social Security number with them, your financial data. You also want to know if they will be around the next year, six months from now in case a question of your tax return comes up." He says it’s best to do your homework and ask questions before turning over all of that sensitive information to a stranger.
Nunez says "Sometimes red flags are possibly a refund that is a very high refund but a return preparer may charge a fee in connection with that refund, like a percentage. I don’t want to say it’s an indicator of guilt but it’s something that’s out of the ordinary." He says most tax preparation businesses are reputable but he says to be mindful of fly-by-night operations that hang up signs in temporary buildings. The person ultimately responsible for any mistakes that are made is the taxpayer.