Monday, December 6, 2010

IRS: Watch out tax preparers, here we come

Posted By on Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 12:54 PM

The IRS is in the news after an announcement that the agency is going to start monitoring tax preparers — the folks a lot of us pay to do their taxes for them, which begs the question: So, they weren't monitoring them before? Really?

From The Charlotte Observer:

The IRS wants to know who is preparing your taxes and make sure they are qualified to do it.

"You have to have a license to cut somebody's hair, but you could prepare a tax return ... and be sitting in prison," said Stephen Kirkland of the Columbia accounting firm Kirkland, Thomas, Watson & Dyches.

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. government next year will begin regulating the tax preparer industry, which has been a breeding ground for fraud, experts said.

Paid tax preparers starting Jan. 1 must begin using an identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service on all returns, said David Williams, head of the agency's new Return Preparer Office. The process takes about 15 minutes at irs.gov and a number is issued instantly, he said.

Some firms outsource work to India or to prison inmates, Kirkland said.

Read the rest of this article, by Kristy Eppley Rupon, here.

In somewhat related news, Anthony and Harriet Jinwright, the pastors of Greater Salem Church convicted of tax fraud in May, are being sentenced this week. Read more at Qcitymetro.com.

For those of you who want to stay on good terms with the IRS, it might be helpful to know, as we enter yet another tax season, that the agency has a YouTube channel with tax prep tips.

Here's one with some information about IRS.gov:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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