Tax Preparer Scams: How to Report Them in the State of New York
In early 2010, the IRS made all tax preparers in the United States register with them for the 2011 tax season. The hope was to try and cut down on NYS tax forms fraud. The thinking was that if tax preparers have an IRS identification number, they might think twice before trying to scam somebody out of money.
However, this doesn’t mean you can let your guard down! The crooks will never stop trying to take your money by manipulating you and your NY state tax forms. If you live in New York and think your or someone you know has been a victim of a tax preparer scam, you need to know how to report it.
What To Do
If you are the victim or catch wind of somebody promising something that seemed impossible with your NYS tax forms, then you should report the offender immediately. The NYS Consumer Protection Board was set up to protect people in New York from just this very thing.
Email: [email protected]
Consumer Assistance Hotline:
Local Phone Number: 518-474-8583
National Phone Number: 1-800-697-1220
Albany Office Mail Address:
New York Consumer Protection Board
5 Empire State Plaza, Suite 2101
Albany, New York 12223
New York City Office Mail Address:
NYS Consumer Protection Board
1740 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, New York 10019
Contact them as soon as possible if you suspect any foul play with your tax preparer.
What To Look Out For
You might not know exactly what to look for when you think someone is trying to scam people out of their tax money. There are, in fact, several warning signs you can look for when choosing who to help you with your NY state tax forms.
First of all, check how long they’ve been in business. If they’re brand new, you might be a little more skeptical than if they’ve been around for decades. Why is that? You want someone who’s going to be around for several years in case a problem comes up on your NYS tax forms. If they’re brand new, chances are the company might fold and the preparer will vanish.
Next, find out if they base their fee on the size of your refund. This is a big warning sign! The norm is to charge based on the complexity of the NY state tax forms, not how much you’ll get back. When they try and charge on the size of your refund, you’ll never know how much they’re going to charge you. They can tell you anything! Plus, they have a very profitable reason to commit fraud with your taxes!
One last warning sign to look out for is if the tax preparer refuses to sign the tax forms they’ve prepared. Whosever name is on the NYS tax forms is who is responsible for the information. By refusing to sign, they’re basically saying they don’t want to take responsibility. In that case, you’ll be solely responsible if something goes horribly wrong!