BBB advises CT residents to be cautious when picking tax prepare - WFSB 3 Connecticut

BBB advises CT residents to be cautious when picking tax preparer

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut residents are being advised to check out who is doing their taxes to avoid identity theft.

With the tax deadline approaching, the Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommended that residents research their tax preparation service or professional ahead of time.

Officials with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services cautioned emails that lead “to websites asking for personal information, which could be used for identity theft.”

BBB officials said certified professionals have “qualifications and experience” to represent a represent taxpayer “in case of a problem with the tax collector.”

“There is no such protection if you prepare your own return, or if it is done by a friend, family member, or seasonal storefront preparation service that is only open for a few months of the year. In such cases, it may be difficult or impossible to contact them in the event of a problem,” BBB officials said in a statement on Monday.

People can also use “retail tax return preparation franchises” to “file a relatively straightforward tax return,” but BBB officials said certified public accountants, tax lawyers and enrolled agents are more qualified to handle issues with a return.

The costs of a tax return preparation vary on “the complexity of the paperwork,” BBB officials said.

“If a tax preparer is sloppy or unethical, you may have to pay fees or fines, lose part or all of your refund, or have your most important personal information used to commit identity theft, including income tax fraud,” BBB officials said.

The BBB also released ways to avoid tax preparation problems:

  • Steer clear of refund-based fees - The preparation fee should be based on the complexity of your return - not the size of your refund.
  • File electronically - You or your tax preparer can file electronically and receive your refund in a couple of weeks. You may also have your refund deposited directly into your bank account.
  • Check the return before it is submitted - Avoid horror stories such as preparers sending in a return without taxpayers' signature, or missing paperwork. Also make certain that the preparer signs and includes their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) on the return. 

To find the tax preparer, click here or to file a complaint with BBB.

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