How to avoid a scam this tax season

It’s officially tax season and a time to look for the documents.
Tax filing season starts
Tax filing season starts(MGN)
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 11:22 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Many taxpayers may look for a tax preparer for help when filing their taxes for a business or after making a major life change. While a tax preparer can provide assistance, selecting the wrong one can leave a person vulnerable to scam or identity theft.

The Better Business Bureau recommends finding a trustworthy tax preparer to handle finances and sensitive personal information.

“Not all tax preparers are legitimate, and scammers are out there to take advantage of you,” said Tiffany Bernhardt Schultz from the Better Business Bureau Wisconsin. “So make sure that before you hire and hire somebody that you are comfortable with that person, you’re comfortable sharing the information with them and they are a legitimate company.”

Today the IRS starts accepting tax returns for your 2022 earnings. Taxes will be disbursed up...
Today the IRS starts accepting tax returns for your 2022 earnings. Taxes will be disbursed up to 21days of the filing date.(WALB)

1. Review credentials – There are several different types of tax preparers in the United States. Some are qualified to represent their clients to the IRS. Others can lend a hand with the paperwork, but may have limitations when it comes to understanding of more complicated tax laws or unable to represent a client.

“If you anticipate any type of problems, maybe you’re going to need assistance down the road after your taxes filed, you’re going to want to make sure that that tax preparer is available to help you if anything should come up in the off season,” recommended Schultz.

2. Get referrals from friends or family – Reaching out to those you know and trust who have used a tax preparer before and had a good experience is a good place to start.

3. Ask about fees ahead of time – Before you send over your personal information or sign any contract, make sure you have an understanding of how much money a tax preparer charges for their services. There may be additional fees for filing state or federal taxes.

“Keep in mind that there’s going to be additional costs if additional forms need to be filed,” said Schultz. “Maybe they have a tax preparer fee on top of the forms that you need to file too, so you want to get all of that information up front so you can make an informed decision.”

For more tips or to learn about the different types of qualifications of a tax preparer, head to the BBB website.

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