In IR–2020–17, the Service warned taxpayers about "ghost" preparers who are not willing to sign returns. Some "ghost" preparers promise large refunds from these tax returns.
Under federal law, a tax preparer must have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). A paid preparer must sign each return and include his or her PTIN.
If a tax preparer is not willing to sign the return, consumers should be on guard. This is particularly a risk if the tax preparer promises a large refund or if a preparation fee is based on the size of the refund.
Your ghost preparer may also have one or more of the following red flags.
Requires payment in cash
Pads income to qualify for tax credits
Fakes deductions to increase refund
Sends refunds to the preparer's bank account...More