Fraud Alert! Identify Fake Tax Preparation Services In Houston
Last Updated October 5, 2021
Taxes are crucial to pay by any businessman. There are several tax preparation services in Houston, so finding a tax preparer can be an overwhelming task. In your hurry, you may end up paying tax preparers who are fake and take your tax preparation money.
Taxes must be filed correctly to avoid being sued by the tax department or IRS. Taxpayers in Houston should have their taxes prepared correctly so they can go through it with ease whenever they need to file for a tax refund or pay taxes later on. Be aware of fake tax preparers that do not know how to complete tax returns properly.
There are many agencies, businesses, and individuals in this city that specialize in helping taxpayers get the tax refund they deserve. But you should also beware of scheming fake tax preparers who will fool you into paying unnecessary fees while submitting invalid forms even when you don’t owe any taxes for that year.
But first, let’s understand some basic information about the tax preparers.
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Role of Tax Preparation Services in Houston for Businesses
A tax preparer is a tax consultant who specializes in tax consultation and tax preparation services for individuals and businesses.
Tax preparers are authorized to perform tax advice but may or may not be tax experts. A tax expert is someone who has the credentials (CPA, EA, Enrolled Agent) to provide tax advice as well as actual testing on tax preparation skills (tax return preparation).
Both tax preparers and tax experts have varied levels of knowledge about taxes while this overview is directed at the latter type of professionals.
Since there are a lot of tax preparation services in Houston, you need to find someone who performs their job in accordance with the legislation and regulations.
Ways to Stay Safe from Fake Tax Preparers
So you may have found a grooving tax preparer who claims to be one of the best in the area. How do you know if the person is telling the truth?
Even if a friend recommends a tax preparer, you still need to assure that you are making the right choice. So how can one identify whether the tax preparation services in Houston are legit or not?
There are some steps you can take into account to avoid tax fraud.
Discover the Identity
Are you expecting a high tax refund this year? If yes, then you need to watch out for the con artists looking for prey.
Tax identity thefts happen often. Scammers can easily steal the information – even your Social Security Number. They can file the income tax return on your behalf. So what you can do is, look out for clues like;
- If you are trying to submit an e-file of tax returns and the IRS rejects it saying your Social Security Number is already filed.
- The IRS sends you a letter stating a tax return is already mailed to them with the given Social Security Number.
- You receive a notification from the IRS about an online account created using your name.
- You receive a transcript you never put in a request for etc.
These are the RED FLAGS you must NOT ignore. The IRS does not make such blunders. Therefore if any of the above situations occur, you should know someone is attempting identity theft.
Watch Out for Ghost Tax Preparers
Freelance or remote taxpayer sounds like a reasonable option with a limited budget right? Ghost tax preparers have become one of the biggest frauds of the year.
No doubt, hiring tax preparation services in Houston is a big deal. It’s a smart move especially when you have to deal with complex tax returns. But you need to be careful who you choose as a tax preparer.
A ghost tax preparer will take care of your income tax returns. They fill in the information. But there’s one catch – they will not sign them. A professional tax preparer has to sign federal tax returns. In case they do not sign, that means they also may not have the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
If you have hired fake tax services, they will withdraw the information. This is a warning sign that you may have been a fake tax preparer. Or someone who is not reputable enough. They can even charge you higher, depending on your tax returns.
For instance, a claim for fake deductions can be made.
Large Returns Promises
Ah! Is your tax preparer promising a large return? It’s a common way to allure the clients to promise them a big refund.
Sadly, many fall prey to this scheme. The scamming tax preparation services in Houston usually target senior citizens in such cases. They are easy to handle and do not ask many questions. These tax preparers appear too friendly and helpful which makes it hard to not trust them.
How to spot the fake tax service preparer? They will inflate your returns and get paid according to the refund percentage. At this point, the client must stop because the tax preparer will attempt to cheat the system by promising you a big refund.
One might also exaggerate the charitable contributions, medical expenses, or so on. So if your tax preparer has no ethics (since he is a fraud) they can cheat the system big time.
Questionable Tax Return Reminder
Another of the most common scams is related to emails. The IRS even warned taxpayers about the email scams. The subject lines are cleverly personalized, so they vary from one email to another. Automatic Income Tax Reminders or Electronic Tax Return reminders are two of the most used subject lines of these scam emails.
Emails usually contain links to an authentic website similar to IRS. so when you click on the given link or anchor text, permission to access the files is required. So when the taxpayer tries to access the file instead they download a malicious virus.
Such websites are not easy to shut down. Therefore a user must be careful in opening such emails. They usually land in spam. In trying to open the files you may also download unknowingly a tracking software. This way the fake tax services can track your every move and clicks. Thus even your passwords and bank account information along with the credit card information are hacked into.
Remember that the IRS does not send emails about a tax refund. Such information is sensitive therefore a regular mail is used for this purpose. So delete any email or report it. But NEVER click on it.
Inexpensive Tax Service Prepares
Many would fall victim to this type. Millions of people want to grab the opportunity for free or inexpensive tax services.
Most of the time the service being offered by the tax preparers is too good to be true. Even if the government offers some substantial programs for the taxpayers then those authorities are certified and work through proper channels.
The best way to protect yourself is to look out for clues (as mentioned above). Also, keep in mind that an IRS agent will never ask for your Social Security Number.
In case you experience any scam you have to report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
Besides, there are authentic tax preparation services providers like My Count Solutions offering genuine services for businesses all over the US. you can call our customer representative or get a 30-day FREE TRIAL to satisfy your worries.