Attorney General’s Office warns of new tax season scam

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Attorney General’s office is warning the public about another scheme on the rise.

The thought of preparing taxes on our own may feel daunting, and with various tax laws it’s easier just to hand it over to a tax professional.

However, before you seek their help, AG officials say there are some things to be cautious of.

Cholla Khoury, Director of Consumer and Environmental Protection with the AG’s office, says one red flag to look out for is if a paid tax preparer asks you to deposit your refund into their account to collect their fee.

“Never let it go to somebody else’s bank account. Never let them reduce the amount of your return prior to you having it in your hands, in your bank account,” said Khoury.

Khoury says this is a sure way to lose all of your refunds.

However, she says they are allowed to delay billing so that you can pay them afterward. Khoury also warns to be careful with that because it could come with a larger fee or hidden interests.

Another thing to pay attention to is the paid tax preparers credentials. Khoury says somebody does not need to have a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license to be a tax preparer. If you’re seeking help from a CPA, they must have their CPA license.

At a basic level, all paid preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number issued by the IRS. If your preparer doesn’t have one, that’s a red flag.

Another thing to consider is always going with your gut.

“If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Be wary of any kind of pressure sales or high-pressure techniques,” said Khoury.

Khoury says they’ve recently received dozens of complaints about these scams.

If this happens to you, report it to the Attorney General’s office and the FTC.

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