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: My tax preparer has been adding business losses to my return for the last 7 years so that I will get a refund instead of owing taxes even if I do not have a business.

The IRS audited me and now I owe $40K in taxes. Is that my fault and do I have to pay the IRS?

A: Surely you can’t believe that you don’t owe the tax that has just been assessed to you. I always tell folks that when you sign along the dotted line, you better know what you are signing or you may be in for a very big surprise.

In your case it is a $40K surprise! You obviously knew you had no business losses so why was it that you agreed to include those in your return.

Also, you most likely knew that you owed taxes at the end of the year and did not question the refund.

From the point of the IRS you are responsible for the return regardless of who prepared it. Most tax preparation firms will pay at least the penalty and interests if they made a mistake.

They will also pay the tax provided they are the ones who made the mistake. If you withheld or did not provide the information needed to prepare a correct return then the back taxes, interests and penalties are yours to pay.

In your case, you perpetrated the fraud with the tax preparer. It is a crime to intentionally defraud the federal government or state for that matter.

You took the tax payer’s money when you ended up with a refund rather than pay taxes. Most people think this is not a crime, but it is. If I were you, I would just start paying on it rather than fighting it.

Here are some tips from the IRS in order not to end up in trouble.

Check the person’s qualifications. Make sure they have the experience to prepare an accurate return for you, not what you want him to do.

Check the preparer’s history. Find out if this preparer has been in trouble from the government before.

Find out about their service fees. Avoid preparers who charge their fees from a percentage of your refund.

Ask if they offer electronic filing. It is the age of new technology. Have them file it electronically.

Make sure the tax preparer is accessible. If you need some records from the preparer, you should be able to find them.

Provide all necessary documents to complete your return correctly. That is the key in filing a correct return.

Never sign a blank return. Don’t just sign a return and have them fill it out later.
Review the entire return before signing it. Always read before you sign.

Make sure the preparer signs the form and enters his tax identification number. This will protect you in case he makes a mistake.

Be careful as there are plenty of people who will claim they know what they are doing. Don’t take their word for it when it comes to your tax returns. Don’t mess with the IRS.
Ating lesson, Ang tamang buwis ay bayaran, dahil di ito matatakbuhan.

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