IRS issues warning as taxpayers choose help with returns

It comes up every time tax season rolls around, scammers trying to steal your money, and tax professionals say this year is no different.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 6:11 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - We are officially in the middle of tax season and experts in Arizona want you to be prepared.

In the coming weeks, many taxpayers in southern Arizona will be looking for help with filing 2022 taxes. It comes up every time tax season rolls around, scammers trying to steal your money, and tax professionals say this year is no different.

“If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Brian Watson, special agent with the Internal Revenue Service.

This year Watson is stressing the importance of taxpayers making sure they know who is filing their returns.

“Go to somebody you trust,” Watson said. “Choose a return preparer the same way you would choose a doctor, a dentist, a plumber, or a wedding photographer.”

“The biggest thing we are seeing scam related are paid return preparers putting a false business on people’s tax return,” Watson said.

According to Watson right now every single person in his office is investigating one of these cases. He adds many times, the person who files has no idea this has happened.

He said tax preparers might do this to reduce overall income, causing a bigger refund, which is considered stealing. If caught you could be forced to pay back the money received.

“My advice is when you get a return prepared by a professional,” Watson said. “Go through the return with them line by line, page by page, and make sure you know what is on that return because you are responsible for everything on that return.”

Another trend Watson is warning about is getting tax advice from TikTok.

A quick social media search shows different tips and suggestions on how to file your returns but not all of them are ethical and much of it is inaccurate.

This is why he says it’s vital to go to a professional you can trust. If you do your taxes yourself, he said it’s best to use the software available on the IRS website.

“It will walk you through your return and it will make sure you don’t miss out on any deductions or credits but most importantly, it’s not going to have you claim a credit you aren’t entitled to,” Watson said.

If you want a trusted professional to file your return, Bonnie Bataza a Project Manager with Pima County says there are ready to help. The county is partnering up with the United Way to offer free tax help to those who make less than $73,000 a year.

“It’s a great way to keep money in your pocket and make sure your taxes are done thoroughly and completely and done by a well-trained volunteer tax preparer,” Bazata said.

The process is simple and only takes up to 30 minutes, making it convenient for people to file.

“We are hearing people are getting tax returns done pretty quickly and back quickly,” Bazata said.

Pima County’s tax professionals will be available on Thursdays through March 30. They will be helping with returns from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pima County’s Kino One-Stop, which is on Ajo Way.

If you would like to be shown how to file your own taxes, Pima County is also offering classes. There are two sessions left one on March 2 and the other on March 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., also at the Kino One-Stop.

More information is here.