Advice, Preparation . . . Results™

Avoid Fraud by Working with a Trustworthy Tax Accountant

Many of us don’t think much about who is preparing our taxes, as long as it gets done. Big mistake. We should make the most informed decision possible. Poor choices when hiring a qualified tax accountant could result in a scam—or worse—legal action or fines.

Return preparer fraud is one of the most common scams and can include identity theft and refund fraud.

Avoid preparers who promise an overly large refund, or base their fee on the size of your refund. These preparers mislead people into claiming credits or deductions—which you’re not qualified for—to increase your refund, and in turn, their profit.

Also, when a preparer says you should authorize your refund to be deposited into his or her bank account, treat that “advice” as another big red flag.

Ask the preparer if he or she holds a current IRS Preparer Tax Id Number (PTIN). If so, the preparer is authorized to prepare federal returns (keep in mind not all preparers share the same level of expertise).

Also question his or her credentials, organizations he or she may belong to, and any continuing education classes. With all of the recent tax law changes, including the Affordable Care Act, you need a well-informed preparer to complete your return.

Never hire a preparer willing to sign a blank return or use your last paycheck instead of a W-2. Always ask all your questions before you sign a return and request to e-file it, which is the safest and most accurate way to file.

Your preparer should sign and include his or her PTIN as well as give you a copy of your return. If you suspect fraud or a scam, you can file a Form 14157 Complaint: Tax Return Preparer, which you can find online at

If you’re looking for an individual, corporate or nonprofit accountant, Patrick & Robinson CPAs has been helping people in your situation prepare their returns and handle other tax issues for more than 30 years.

Now you can put that tested experience to work for you. Contact us at or 904-396-5400.

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