California Tax Education Council


 

IF YOU PAY, THEY MUST SIGN.

 

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. 

Hiring a tax preparer (often referred to as "ghost tax preparers") will increase your chances for tax fraud, penalties and additional taxes.


The individual name of the tax preparer (typed or handwritten) is required on state and federal tax returns they prepare for a fee. An IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is also required on your federal tax return.


 

BEWARE IF YOUR TAX PREPARER...

 

  • Signs or stamps your tax return "self prepared" instead of signing their name. The law REQUIRES paid tax preparers to sign your tax return by first and last name. No exceptions. Always verify they signed the "TAX PREPARER SIGNATURE" line on your state and federal tax returns.

  • Signs under a business name. Again, their individual name is required by law.

  • Sticks a business label on your tax return instead of signing their name.​ Although it may appear like they "signed" it, the copy filed with the government never includes the label. Again, no name. No signature. No proof of existence.

  • Claims they "forgot" to sign your tax return or "promises" to sign it later.

REPORT TAX PREPARER FRAUD

All information you provide is kept private. Anonymous reports are accepted!
 

FIND A CALIFORNIA APPROVED TAX PREPARER


California law says only an attorneycertified public accountant (CPA)enrolled agent (EA), or a CTEC 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!