TAMPA, Fla. – Each year, taxpayers’ personal information is compromised through phishing scams or by unscrupulous tax preparers.
With tax season kicking off this month, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) wants taxpayers to be aware of tax-related fraud.
“Vetting your tax return preparer’s credentials should be top priority this time of year since you have the ultimate responsibility of the accuracy of what is put on your tax return,” said IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronald A. Loecker.
Tips to avoid tax season fraud include:
- Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.
- Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers
are required to have one.
- Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.
- Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of
- Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns
filed with the IRS.
- Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not
your tax preparer’s.
- The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up.
- Don’t respond to text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may
contain malware that could compromise your personal information.
- Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return.
These messages are fraudulent.
- Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to
unsolicited text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.
Below are a couple of the fraudulent tax preparation cases the IRS-CI Tampa Field Office has worked in 2022:
- Kissimmee Man Sentenced to 18 Months for Tax Fraud Marcos Antonio Tejada was sentenced for preparing false tax returns for himself and others. Tejeda prepared two versions of the same tax return, one he claimed was accurate, and one he knew was false.
- Promoters of a Nationwide Tax Scheme Sentenced to Prison Iran V. Backstrom, aka Shariyf Noble, was sentenced to 105 months in prison, and Mehef Bey, aka Arthur Daniels, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Their scheme involved recruiting clients and preparing false tax returns on the clients’ behalf by convincing them their mortgages and other debts entitled them to tax refunds.