IRS issues warning about 'ghost tax return preparers'

BySamantha Chatman KGO logo
Friday, February 12, 2021
IRS warns of 'ghost tax return preparers'
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I-Team Consumer Investigator Samantha Chatman breaks down what taxpayers should watch out for.

CHICAGO -- The IRS is warning people to stay away from "ghost tax preparers."

According to the IRS, a ghost tax preparer is someone who prepares your taxes, but doesn't sign or put their information on your form. This makes them virtually invisible and untraceable.

By law, anyone who is paid to prepare federal tax returns must sign and include their preparer tax identification number.

So what's the big deal if they don't include their information? The IRS says that paid preparer may be looking to make a quick buck by promising you a big refund or charging fees based on the size of the refund.

Unscrupulous tax return preparers may also:

-Require payment in cash only and not provide a receipt.

-Invent income to qualify their clients for tax credits.

-Claim fake deductions to boost the size of the refund.

-Direct refunds into their bank account, not the taxpayer's account.

The IRS urges taxpayers to choose a tax return preparer wisely. For tips on finding the right person and what questions you should ask, visit