Filing your 2021 tax returns: Frauds & scams

Be aware of fraudulent tax preparers!

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail that appears to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration or other organization claiming to represent the United States government, you should report it by forwarding it to phishing@irs.gov.

Some tax scammers also use snail mail; so be aware, when you receive regular mail that purports to be from the IRS too.  If you are not sure, contact the IRS directly.

Keep-in-mind, as a taxpayer you are legally responsible for the information you represent on your tax return, even if the tax return is prepared by a third-party professional.

Do’s & Don’ts

  • DON’T use tax preparers who promise higher returns. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
  • DON’T use a paid tax return preparer who is not in compliance with IRS PTIN requirements.
  • DON’T fall for flyers and advertisements promising you “free money” from the IRS.  There is no such thing as “free money” from the IRS!
  • DO choose a tax preparer that has a valid IRS “Preparer Tax Identification Number” (PTIN). 
    • Paid tax return preparers must have a PTIN; and they must renew it annually.  Tax return preparers must also record their PTIN on your tax return and sign your tax return as the paid tax return preparer.
  • DO review your return before you sign it and make sure your preparer signs it too.
  • DO consider going to a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) location to have your tax return prepared for free.