Better Business Bureau warns tax payers to be alert
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CHARLOTTE – The Better Business Bureau is handing out advice and warnings less than seven weeks before the April 15 income tax deadline. BBB officials say tax payers should be careful of scams while filing this year.
“If you're signing that return, no matter who prepared them for you you're responsible for what's on that form," said Tom Bartholomy, President of the Better Business Bureau.
To avoid getting scammed this season, he suggests doing your taxes yourself. If your tax situation isn't complicated, the IRS has all the forms and instructions you need on their Web site.
Tax payers can also use a tax preparation service or purchase tax preparation software, but Bartholomy says always proceed with caution.
"We encourage people, no matter what option they choose to pursue, is to check them out. Even if it's an online tax service, software like TurboTax, we have those companies rated," he said.
Another option is to hire a local tax accountant. With the number of new tax credits available this past year, from home buyers to clunkers, the BBB says you may get more bang for your buck there.
"If you are planning to start a new business or if something is even going to change in this year, you want to go to a professional to know before you do it, to do it the right way so at the end of 2010 you're not repenting what you did," said Krutika Chheda, president of K&M Accounting and Tax Services.
After filing, many families may consider getting a refund anticipation loan or a money now loan. While those may be a good source of instant cash, the BBB warns they come at a high cost.
The National Consumer Law Center found that the interest rates for those types of loans can range from about 50 to nearly 500 percent, and some companies tack on additional administrative fees.