Tax experts warn of scammers as the filing deadline nears

Tax experts warn of scammers as the filing deadline nears

(WTVM) - As the deadline to file your taxes is quickly approaching, tax preparers say it's a good idea to get a head start.

This year's deadline is April 17.

"First step is making sure you have all your information," says Gregory Blue of Blue Fast Tax.

Blue says you'll need key important documents in order to file your taxes.

"W-2s, your mortgage interest statement, your dividend statements," says Blue, just to name a few.

The documents hold security sensitive information. If you're choosing to have someone else do your taxes for you, experts say be selective and do your homework on the tax preparing service or else your information could fall in the hands of a scammer.

"Ask them about their education and their affiliation. Ask them if they've ever represented someone in an audit or if they've been asked not to," says Jason Blankenship with the Better Business Bureau. "Tax scams are nothing short of a disaster."

Blankenship says a big red flag tax preparing scammers use to lure in victims, is advertising an instant tax return or an immediate cash advance.

"There is not an instant return. Even if you file online, even if you know someone. It is not a return, it is a loan," says Blankenship.

Fraudulent tax preparers can also scam you later on down the road. Blankenship says a way to avoid this is by choosing a tax preparation business that operates year-round.

Ask yourself, "Will these people be here in June or July if something goes wrong?" says Blankenship.

Tax and IRS scams can also occur outside the preparation office.

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, don't fall for it. It's a scam.

"There will be letters. You will know the IRS is contacting you. It will not be a sudden thing," says Blankenship.

Choosing to have someone else prepare your taxes rather than self-service isn't always a scam.

To visit the BBB's website for more information on reputable tax preparation services, click  here.

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