Be careful of tax preparers. Most may be honest, but in some cases return preparers have skimmed off their clients’ refunds, charged inflated fees for return preparation services and attracted new clients by promising guaranteed funds.
In 2012, every paid preparer needs to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and enter it on the returns he or she prepares.
Signals to watch for when you are dealing with an unscrupulous return preparer include:
−Preparer does not sign the return or add a Preparer Tax Identification Number.
−Does not give you a copy of your tax return.
−Promises larger than normal tax refunds.
−Charges a percentage of the refund amount as a preparation fee.
−Requires you to split the refund to pay the preparation fee.