OUR VIEW: Do some research when looking for a tax preparer

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Throughout the past several months, two tax preparers in the Greater Valley Area have been charged with numerous crimes.

Christina Williams of Family Tax Services has been charged with numerous counts of identity theft and property theft, according to the Valley Police Department.

She’s been accused of cashing client’s tax returns without their knowledge and telling them they didn’t get a refund.

Meanwhile, in a case with very different circumstances, Gladys McCauley recently pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and assisting in the filing of false federal income tax returns. McCauley was accused of inflating her customer’s refunds.

Those cases are very different, including the charges filed, but they do help make a larger, overall point.

It won’t be long before tax season is upon us and many people will seek out tax preparers to help file their annual tax returns.

If you are in the market for a tax preparation service we urge you to be thorough in your selection. This seems like a no brainer, but a lot of people will walk into the nearest tax preparation office or reply to a Facebook ad without doing any research.

Tax preparation can be complicated and the general public doesn’t understand all of the complexities involved.

That’s why many of us pay someone else to do it for us, but unfortunately, that also makes it easy for someone to take advantage of that situation.

We want to be clear that we are not placing blame on those that were allegedly taken advantage of by Williams, nor are we implying they did not research their qualifications. We are simply saying that everyone should learn from this situation.

Do not jump at the service that is charging the lowest fee(s) or one that claims to provide a quicker return of a refund.

These two instances so close to home are not uncommon nationally, and it is very easy for the average tax filer to be taken advantage of.

Tax preps services pop up all over the place and it can be overwhelming, but there are reputable companies that have been around for decades.

Everyone can learn from these incidents and do due diligence to vet companies that will assist with finances, including tax preparation services.