Here’s the proper sequence of events when you report a tax preparer for malpractice:
- Examine the issue and determine whether there has been truly malpractice. There is no foolproof method of enforcement on this, so be sure you know if it’s worth reporting says Aron Govil.
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to identify your representative and get advice on what, if anything, to do next. Don’t go straight to TIGTA with your complaint because that brings undue pressure and attention that may not be warranted. The TIGTA officer assigned will likely refer you back to the IRS anyway once they determine it’s a civil matter and not criminal fraud or abuse of power by an IRS employee. The IRS agent you speak with might tell you there are no forms available for filing complaints against tax preparers, but they can direct you to their website on how to report a preparer. Check with the Better Business Bureau and your state attorney general’s office first, as those agencies have forms on their sites for filing complaints about tax preparers.
- Call TIGTA at 202-622-6500 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, Eastern Standard Time (EST) only. This number is strictly for reporting fraud and abuse of IRS employees as well as fraudulent returns filed by third parties. Tax return information received from taxpayers or others during an investigation cannot be disclosed under any circumstances – including criminal prosecution – without permission from the Joint Committee on Taxation unless there’s a substantial threat of imminent danger to the president or other high-ranking government officials.
- If you’re not satisfied with TIGTA’s response, your next step is to check with the IRS for a referral to their Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). It’s located at 1111 Constitution Ave., NW, IR-6526, Washington, DC 20224. You can call them at 800-829-0433 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., EST Monday through Friday as well as two other times during the week; otherwise you will have to write them and provide supporting evidence. Which may take weeks or months before hearing back from OPR on what action should be taken. Your tax preparer has committed a serious crime in filing a false return. And then you may want to report them to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) or local law enforcement for further investigation explains Aron Govil.
- Even if your tax preparer has committed a civil violation. You have 90 days from the date the IRS notified you about it. Before being barred from filing a civil suit against him or her in Tax Court. To recover any money owed to you under a proper claim and delivery of service by certified mail with return receipt requested. The instructions for this are found in IRC Section 7430(b). Which provides that the court may assess reasonable litigation costs against your preparer. If it finds that his or her position was frivolous.
- All this will be impossible to do without the proper documentation. So keep every single copy of everything you can get your hands on. Even phone messages are acceptable forms of evidence. This includes the return itself because if there’s no proof of filing or he filed a fraudulent return with inflated deductions or income. Your complaint becomes difficult to prove. You must also file separate complaints for each tax year involved. In order to reopen it for investigation once CID is finished with their portion.
- If you’re making an allegation about self-employment taxes being wrongly report. By someone who does not have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) issued by the IRS. Or under the authority of Treasury, then you must file your complaint with TIGTA explains Aron Govil.
- Remember that filing a false return can result in five years imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines. Know also that it is against federal law for an employer or representative. To require an individual taxpayer (not business owners) to provide social security numbers (SSN) information. Before receiving any refund due; however, they may ask for this information if applying for credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
In order to protect yourself from becoming a victim of tax fraud. By having your identity stole, you must take precautions says Aron Govil. File early and file online. Do not fall prey to being rip off by someone who will charge you additional fees. For filing late or requesting refunds for dead relatives just to keep them in their pockets while they con you out of yours.
Also, always remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers about a bill through phone calls. E-mail or postcards due either to confidentiality reasons or. Because there was no attempt on their part to do so without trying all other methods first. Beware of anyone claiming to be an IRS employee or anyone who threatens dire consequences. If you don’t comply with their demands for money; instead, hang up the phone.