It’s 10:00pm; do you know where your children are right now? What about your tax preparer?
According to a recent TIGTA audit, the IRS approved 331 tax preparer identification numbers to individuals serving prison terms.
- How did they do it? In most cases the prisoners lied on their applications by not disclosing their convictions.
- Why do they do it? To try to defraud the IRS. They use false or fraudulent tax returns in hopes of obtaining refunds. Prisoners have a history of trying to defraud the government, particularly the IRS. They have enough time on their hands and not much to lose if their scheme is unproductive.
- What is the IRS doing about it? The IRS has vowed to suspend tax preparer identification numbers already issued to prisoners and deny any future applications from inmates.
Chances are that these inmate preparers are not actually preparing returns for the average American consumer. Maybe they’re doing returns for their fellow inmates. Maybe their laying the groundwork for after their prison terms are over. Or, even more likely, they are just seeing where this new credential will take them. Whatever the case may be, it is usually a good idea to actually meet your tax preparer in a face-to-face meeting . . . even if just to confirm they’re working out of an office and not a prison cell.