The “Ghost” Tax Return Preparer

Don’t be a Ghost!

The IRS recently issued a quick alert about what they call “Ghost Preparers.” People who prepare or help prepare federal tax forms, but don’t sign them as the preparer, are considered “Ghosts.”

Apparently, some of these “Ghosts” are dishonest about who they are, committing refund fraud, or otherwise scamming the taxpayer.

Here at 2290Tax we’ve always tried to help educate our Preparers about what the IRS requires of them[i], and this is an example of why.

When other companies tell our clients, they don’t need a signature on an 8453[ii] or an 8879[iii] we point out not only the tax law[iv], but also notices like this one from IRS.

IRS Notice

This notice takes the language a step further than I’ve seen before also, by simply calling anyone who files, or helps file a form a “preparer” and eliminating the question of compensation. It used to be anyone who was “paid to prepare” and now it’s simply “preparers or help prepare.” That’s a big change and the implications are huge!

So if you’re a tax payer, make sure whoever is helping you is doing so honestly, and signing their work. That makes them liable for their mistakes instead of you.

And if you’re a Preparer, make sure you’re covering your buns by getting the proper signature documents from your clients, and providing your PTIN and signature where it’s required.  Penalties[v] for you can be hefty and definitely aren’t worth it!

Call us today with your questions about tax preparation and signature authorization!

Written By Casey Bullard

[i] /support/what-is-an-irs-ptin.php