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When Paying for a Tax Preparer, Choose Wisely

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Public Affairs Office Brenda Voet

For Immediate Release


Sacramento – Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today offered guidance to taxpayers who plan to hire a tax preparer for the 2009 filing season.

Taxpayers are cautioned to avoid tax preparers who:

  • Claim they can get bigger refunds than other tax preparers.
  • Delegate tax preparation work to someone with less experience or knowledge.
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign a blank return, or sign a return in pencil.
  • Base their fee on a percentage of the refund amount.
  • Do not provide a copy of the tax return for the taxpayer’s records.
  • Cannot clearly answer questions about the tax return.
  • Refuse to sign the tax return as the paid preparer even though they are required by law to do so.

The IRS and FTB brochure, FTB Publication 982, How to Select an Income Tax Return Preparer, assists taxpayers with choosing a tax professional.

The following organizations can provide information about licensed and registered tax professionals in California:

FTB continues to pursue unlicensed and dishonest tax preparers. Last year, FTB assessed 112 penalties against tax preparers for failing to be properly licensed or registered. If taxpayers suspect a tax preparer is fraudulent, they can now inform FTB online at, by selecting “Report Tax Fraud” under “Online Services,” or by calling 800.540.FILE (3453).

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit

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