Most tax return preparers are honest and provide good service to their clients; however, there may be some who take advantage of unsuspecting customers.
Here are some things to watch for:
- Every paid preparer is required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and enter it on the returns he or she prepares.
- Be aware of the risks of Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL) and Refund Anticipation Checks (RAC), which are high-interest loans designed to get taxpayers their refunds quickly but at a high price
A tax preparer should never do any of the following:
- ask you to sign a blank or incomplete return.
- ask you to sign a return in pencil
- not give you a copy of your tax return
- promise larger than normal tax refunds
- charge a percentage of the refund amount as preparation fee
- require you to split the refund to pay the preparation fee
- add forms to the return you have never filed before
- encourage you to place false information on your return, such as false income, expenses and/or credits
- claim to have a special relationship with the Iowa Department of Revenue or IRS
For advice on finding a competent tax professional, see the IRS Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer
If you suspect fraud, see how to Report Iowa Tax Fraud.