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College students can protect against dishonest tax return preparers

Wednesday December 28, 2022

BOISE, Idaho – Dec. 28, 2022 – Ahead of the tax filing season, the Idaho State Tax Commission is giving advice on how to watch out for tax fraud. Many college students file tax returns for the first time without any knowledge of income taxes. They can protect against dishonest preparers who promise large refunds or push tax credits they might not qualify for.

If you’re a college student using a tax preparer, guard yourself by doing the following:

  • Discuss details of and ask questions about credits you think you qualify for.
  • Get copies of both your federal and state returns, and review them before signing.
    • Is the bank account on the return yours?
    • Is the refund larger than you expected?
    • Did the preparer list their contact information on the return?
    • Are there items that don’t make sense, like a business on the return, or credits you don’t understand?
  • Get clarification for items you don’t understand, and don’t sign the return if you believe it’s incorrect.

What can happen if you submit a false tax return?

  • You’ll be audited for the discrepancies in the return. This can include penalties and interest.
  • If you can’t pay the extra money you owe, the Tax Commission will find other avenues to collect.

False tax returns can affect your credit score if a lien is filed against you for the extra money you owe. It’s considered a felony if you intentionally seek out a preparer to inflate and file your refund.

If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to a dishonest preparer, call the Tax Commission’s fraud unit at (208) 332-4060, and contact the IRS.