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What to Look for When Choosing a Tax Preparer

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(Memphis) The U.S. Department of Justice is working to shut down another Memphis tax preparation company.

A complaint says a couple schemed millions of dollars from the federal government through filing improper tax credits and claims.

The problem is, taxpayers are left to clean up the tax mess.

“I did my taxes at home by myself because I didn`t want to be ripped off by a company,” said Shunika Lewis who learned the hard way. She says she got burned by a fraudulent tax preparer.

“I have used them in the past and sometimes you get audited because they put in the wrong information or misleading information so I started doing them on my own,” said Lewis.

Lewis is talking about companies like Taxes-R-Us. The U.S Dept. of Justice has filed a complaint against Ahmed Grant and Lillian Madyun barring them from preparing taxes for other people. The complaint claims they filed false credits client tax returns totaling nearly $5 million over the last few years.

“Taxpayers shouldn't have to be treated like that and I think it’s fair that they're under investigation,” said Lewis. “You're getting a flat fee regardless. So you're getting paid whether you're cheating people out of money. You make it hard for people who are legit.”

The IRS says play it safe and hire a certified tax agent, CPA, or attorney, who is in business all year, not just during tax season.

Also, the IRS says an honest tax preparer will not fabricate info on your tax return or charge a fee that is a percentage of your total. They also won't promise a bigger return than another preparer.

“Getting a bigger refund, that is just a hoax,” said Lewis. “You're going to get what you're entitled to because if you're getting what you're not entitled to, you're adding something you're not supposed to and you're lying.”

When it’s all said and done, the IRS says the taxpayer, not the preparer, is ultimately responsible for accuracy.

For more tips on choosing a preparer, go here: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Points-to-Keep-in-Mind-When-Choosing-A-Tax-Preparer