U.S. Attorney’s Office and IRS give tips on how to avoid tax fraud

SPOKANE, Wash. — The IRS and U.S. Attorney’s Office are giving tips to taxpayers on what they should watch for this tax season.

There are more and more phishing scams and sketchy tax preparers to look out for every year. Many scammers seem convincing to the unsuspecting taxpayer, leading many to fall for tax fraud.

“Having a safe, strong community in Eastern Washington includes ensuring that taxpayers are protected from fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref.  “We will continue to work closely with our colleagues at IRS to ensure not only that all taxpayers pay their fair share, but that no one is taken advantage of by shady preparers or online scams.”

One of the warning signs to look out for is a ghost preparer. You should always have your preparer sign your tax returns, and do not sign blank tax returns yourself. It’s important to choose your preparer wisely and ask for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Numbers. Make sure your tax returns are deposited into your bank account and not the tax preparers.

The IRS says to not answer calls from anyone claiming to be the IRS and threatens legal action. The IRS does not make calls like this, nor do they send out texts, emails, or social media posts demanding financial information. And do not click on links or attachments from unsolicited emails or text messages about tax returns, as they could contain malware.

If you are found guilty of tax fraud, you could be punished with raised interest, fines, and jail time. Look for the warning signs and do not fall victim to tax fraud.

For more tips on how to choose tax professionals or file complaints, visit IRS.gov.

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