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Carefully choose a tax preparer to avoid problems

The IRS is aware of several tactics that unethical tax preparers use, and it is trying to warn the general public this tax season. Tax preparers may file false income tax returns by claiming more personal expenses or business expenses, claiming deductions or credits that they do not qualify for and using exemptions in an excessive manner. The IRS has also seen tax preparers who may change income figures on the tax returns to try to get more credits for the client.

However, Boston taxpayers are the ones who are ultimately held responsible when fraudulent income tax returns are submitted. Typically, they are required to pay any additional taxes, interest and penalties that are incurred due to a false income tax return. They may also be held criminally liable in some cases.

Consumers can follow a few tips suggested by the IRS to protect themselves. For example, they should not sign a blank tax form. They should check the return before adding their signature and submitting the return. Also, they might need to be leery of tax preparers who say that they can get bigger refunds for their clients than other preparers are capable of acquiring. Some preparers charge a fee based on the amount of the refund and should be avoided. Taxpayers should also receive a copy of their tax return for their own records and check to ensure that their return is being properly handled by attorneys, CPAs or enrolled agents.

To ensure that they are complying with all tax laws, some taxpayers seek the advice of Boston tax attorneys. These attorneys are familiar with the tax code and may be able to offer specific advice pertaining to a person's tax situation.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Crime Watch: Choose your tax preparer with care to avoid fraud," Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell, March 20, 2013

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