March 27, 2012
Thousands of Indiana taxpayers will be taken advantage of during tax season. To make sure you’re not one of them, remember these simple tips.
How do you find a good tax preparer?
- Pick someone who’s still going to be there when filing season is over. You need someone who will be there to help you if you get audited. You should get referrals from family and friends and then check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Locations with good ratings at the BBB are more trustworthy. (http://www.bbb.org)
- Check with local, professional tax societies like the Indiana CPA Society and the Indiana Society of Enrolled Agents. These types of professional groups set standards for their members.
- The IRS lists many approved preparers on its website and can also be a good place to start looking. http://www.irs.gov.
Once you chose a preparer, make sure you pay attention to what happens with your return.
- If the preparer you’re using tries to charge a fee based on a percentage of your refund, don’t do business there. The price you pay to have your taxes filled out should not be connected to how much of a refund you receive. This can be a sign the preparer you are using is not honest.
- Never sign a blank form for any reason.
- Always check how many exemptions are being claimed. You generally get one exemption for yourself and your spouse and then one for each child you have. If you only have two children and your preparer is claiming eight exemptions, that’s considered fraud. If you see your preparer do this, you should leave. You always want to work with an honest tax preparer.
Also, the additional exemption for certain dependent children only include: sons, step-sons, daughters, step-daughters and official foster children. Cousins, grandchildren, nephews and nieces do not qualify.
- Always check which deductions and credits are being claimed. If your preparer claims deductions or credits you shouldn’t have, you should stop going to that preparer. For example, if you’re not in college, you probably shouldn’t have a college credit on your tax forms.
- If you’re getting a refund by direct deposit, always check to make sure the bank account number listed on your return is YOUR account number. Dishonest preparers sometimes use their own account numbers to steal refunds.
- Always check your return before you sign it. This way you can make sure it’s accurate.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be more likely to be safe this filing season.
If you would like to speak with a bilingual representative at the Indiana Department of Revenue, call (317) 232-2240 (press 2 for Spanish) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also visit the Spanish Web site at www.impuestos.in.gov/ for more information or submit questions about your bill via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions and would like to speak with a bilingual representative at the Indiana Department of Revenue, please call (317) 232-2240 (press 2 for Spanish) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also visit the Department’s Web site at www.dor.in.gov/.
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