Tax Fraud Alert for Individuals Each year, some North Carolina taxpayers are assessed additional tax, penalties, and interest as a result of intentional actions by fraudulent tax return preparers. These intentional actions are intended to fraudulently increase individual income tax refunds that the taxpayers, not the preparers, are responsible for when the Department of Revenue corrects the particular taxpayer’s tax return(s) to reflect the correct tax and/or refund due to the taxpayer. Please remember a paid tax return preparer should always sign the particular completed income tax return as indicated on the income tax return form. However, even when the preparer signs the return, the particular taxpayer is ultimately responsible for all information represented on the prepared individual income tax return. Always review your completed income tax return with your tax professional prior to its submission to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. If you do not understand the information on your income tax return, or if you see information that is incorrect, question your preparer to satisfy your concerns. If you are not satisfied with the response, notify the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue has assessed taxpayers more than $134 million in additional taxes over the last three years as a result of fraudulently prepared tax returns with inflated refund requests. While the overwhelming majority of tax return preparers provide outstanding service to their clients, some inflict financial harm due to intentional fraudulent actions upon the particular taxpayer. Things to consider when selecting a tax return preparer: Be wary of tax return preparers who claim they can obtain larger income tax refunds than others can obtain. Avoid tax return preparers who base their preparation fees on a percentage of the income tax refund or who offer to deposit all or part of your income tax refund into the particular income tax return preparer’s bank accounts. Use a reputable tax professional who enters his or her Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) on the particular taxpayer’s completed income tax return, signs the income tax return, and provides the particular taxpayer a copy of their completed income tax return. Consider whether the individual or firm will be viable/ open for business subsequent to the filing of the particular taxpayer’s income tax return to answer any questions about the preparation of the (particular taxpayer’s income) tax return. Never sign a blank income tax return for any reason. Indicators that your income tax preparer may be a fraudulent income tax preparer: Fraudulent charitable contributions reflected upon your income tax return Fraudulent business shown on a schedule C reflecting fraudulent expenses and losses Fraudulent W-2 Forms that reflect Bogus wages and withholding that you did not earn Fraudulent claims of expenses reported on form number 2106 that you are not entitled to claim unless you are a reservist and specific criteria Income tax preparer requests to be paid in cash Income tax preparer does not ask you questions about your particular income and expenses IRS links regarding fraudulent income tax preparers: A starting point for choosing a preparer - https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/choosing-a-tax-professional The detailed list for best tips in choosing an income tax preparer - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tips-to-help-people-choose-a-reputable-tax-preparer Information on “ghost” income tax preparers (income tax preparers that do not sign the prepared income tax return) - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/beware-of-ghost-preparers-who-dont-sign-tax-returns US Dept. of Justice efforts to stop fraudulent income tax preparers - https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-continues-efforts-stop-fraudulent-taxpreparers Please report any fraudulent tax preparers to the North Carolina Department of Revenue by visiting our website at https://www.ncdor.gov/contact-us/report-tax-fraud.