NBC10 Responds

The Keys to Avoiding Scams During Tax Season

IRS special agent explains what you need to know

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Tax season officially kicks off Monday, January 27th. Whether you’re looking for someone to prepare your taxes or you want to avoid a potential scam: the IRS says there are red flags to look out for.

“I would say choosing a tax return preparer is just as important as choosing a doctor or a lawyer.” IRS Assistant Special Agent in Charge Frank Del Castillo tells NBC10 Responds. He handles criminal investigations in Philadelphia.

If you’re looking for a certified federal tax return preparer, the IRS makes it easy. Just visit its website and enter your zip code to access a list of certified public accountants in your area.

When you meet with the preparer: ask about fees upfront so there are no surprises, don’t sign any incomplete forms, and ask the preparer to review your return with you line by line. If you’re due a refund make sure you know where the money is going.

“You want to make sure you provide your routing number, your account number to the account that at your bank, where you are in control of that of the funds that go in there.” Says Del Castillo.

The IRS says you should beware of three signs of a scam:

  • Calls demanding money
  • The request of payment with a gift card
  • Unsolicited emails asking for personal information

If you believe you’re the target of a scam, report your experience to the IRS by filing a complaint.

The IRS offers free tax preparation services if you meet a certain income level.

Contact Us