BEWARE IF YOUR TAX PREPARER...
Signs or stamps your tax return "self prepared" instead of signing their name.
Claims they "forgot" to sign your tax return or promises to sign it later.
Signs under a business name or sticks a business label on your tax return instead of signing their name.
Tax preparers who charge a fee to do your taxes, but never sign your tax return are breaking the law. No signature means no accountability. No proof of existence.
The individual name of the tax preparer (typed or handwritten) is required on each state and federal tax return they prepare for a fee. A personal IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is also required on federal tax returns.
Hiring a tax preparer (often referred to as "ghost" tax preparers) will increase your chances for tax refund fraud, penalties and additional taxes.
IF YOU PAY, THEY MUST SIGN.
WHAT IF YOU'RE A VICTIM OF FRAUD?
You should seek the assistance of a California approved tax preparer about getting your tax return amended. You should also file a report against the tax preparer. All information you provide is kept private. Anonymous reports are accepted.
FIND A CALIFORNIA APPROVED TAX PREPARER
California law says only an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), enrolled agent (EA), or a California Tax Education Council registered tax preparer (CRTP) can do your taxes for a fee.
Always verify the legal status of a tax preparer. Licenses and registrations can be suspended or revoked without notice to you!
The California Tax Education Council (CTEC) is a nonprofit organization established by the California State Legislature.
Its mission? To protect innocent taxpayers like you against fraudulent and incompetent tax preparers. Learn more at ctec.org or call 844.900.CTEC.
All CTEC Registered Tax Preparers (CRTPs) are required to first complete 60 hours of qualifying education, then 20 hours of continuing education each year and always maintain a $5,000 surety bond to protect you against fraud.
CRTPs who prepare tax returns for a fee without a current registration are breaking state law.