DOJ warns against fraudulent tax return preparers

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SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — As tax filing season approaches, the Department of Justice is warning taxpayers to beware of fraudulent tax return preparers.

While many tax preparers are professional and honest, some prepare returns with false information in order to improperly boost a taxpayer’s refund or increase business and preparation fees.

Each year, the Justice Department seeks court orders to shut down tax preparers engaging in fraudulent activity.

Under law, taxpayers are responsible for what is reported on their returns.

Experts say this time of year is a good time to find a reputable tax preparer.

Mike Gray, CPA, BKD CPAs And Advisors, said, “This past year we had one of the major tax laws that we’ve had in the past 30 years that occurred and last tax season was very stressful with all the tax law changes. So I think there are a lot of tax preparers out there that may have not got the update that they needed to in order to prepare a lot of those tax returns and that may be the source of some of this scrutiny that the IRS is starting to see a lot more of.”

Gray also says in addition to reputation, there are certain qualifications that a good tax preparer will have like, being a certified professional accountant, or being an enrolled agent with the IRS.

If preparers have those certifications, they are required to receive continued education each year to keep them up to date on new tax laws.

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