The deadline to file your taxes is just about a month away. According to the IRS, 60 percent of taxpayers use a professional to help prepare their return. The IRS has some advice about how to choose that person and avoid getting scammed.
Last year, the IRS sent 200 abusive tax return preparers to prison. There are bad guys out there who want to steal your tax return. There are already accusations of that this tax season in Cleveland.
Two men say they filed tax returns at a Jackson Hewitt on Detroit Avenue and after more than a month never received their money. One was owed about $300 and the other $10,000. They had worked with the same tax preparer at the business and have since filed a police report. Jackson Hewitt fired the tax preparer and the men are now working with the company to get their money.
To help avoid this, the IRS suggests asking for a tax preparer identification number and asking to see credentials to make sure your agent is enrolled with the IRS.
If you’re filing yourself -- take care during the process.
“You want to file a tax return early. If you are filing electronically, make sure your connection is secure. If you are mailing it, take it directly to the post office. Don't leave it in a mailbox where someone may be able to pick it up,” said Larissa Bungo with the Federal Trade Commission.
Phone scams are also popular. You might get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, saying you owe money. If this happens, call the IRS directly at their independent number and ask about your account.
The IRS says also avoid a tax preparer asking for a percentage of your refund or a preparer who wants to deposit your refund into their own bank account.