BBB offers tips to avoid scams with tax filing deadline approaching

Tax season is a few days longer this year, and that means there are a few more days for scammers to try and scare you into giving them your hard earned money or your private information.
taxes

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Tax season is a few days longer this year, and that means there are a few more days for scammers to try and scare you into giving them your hard earned money or your private information.

Kelvin Collins, the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia, says the common scam we’ll see right now and for a few months after the filing deadline is phone calls saying:

“You were late filing or we haven’t received your filing,” Collins said. “And that’s when they’re going to try and scare you into getting your social security number or paying some type of penalty.”

Collins says you shouldn’t sign a blank return and that it’s a red flag if someone says they’ll charge a percentage of what you owe. You should look for someone who charges a flat free comparable to other tax preparing services. He says pop-up stores from chains are trustworthy, but you should still be cautious.

“It’s the individual pop-up stores that come in just for tax season and then they disappear,” he said. “And you don’t know where to find them if you were to have an issue on your taxes.”

United Way of Central Georgia also offers free tax services. President and CEO George McCanless says they do have an in-person option, but unfortunately appointments for the last day of that service are fully booked. He says they do have an online option.

“You could go to UnitedWayCG.org/myfreetaxescom and you can file your income taxes for free, but you do it yourself,” McCanless said.

According to Collins, a good way to know if a tax preparer is reputable is by checking their PTIN number.

“That is a number that they use in order to file taxes through the IRS or someone else,” he said.  “So ask the preparer for their PTIN number, and you can check that out through the Board of Accountancy.”

The tax filing deadline is Monday, April 18. The Better Business Bureau says you can check its website for reputable preparers.

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