Tax fraud warning signs

Tax evasion can get you five years in prison and a $250,000 fine

The tax deadline is just over two weeks away, and as some of you rush to file returns, the IRS wants you to watch out for scammers.

Tax evasion can get you five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, which is why you need to make sure you file with a legitimate tax preparer â" because if they pull a scam, you can be held accountable to the law. The IRS says to watch out for tax preparers who say they can get you a big refund. You should also watch out for someone who says they'll take a percentage of your tax return.

John McDuffie has been a certified personal accountant for 28 years and this is his 30th tax season. He says to be wary of a preparer who sends your refund check back to their office.

"The refund needs to go to the recipient, to the individual that files the income return," McDuffie said. "We don't handle the client's money."

Another way to protect yourself from tax fraud is to go to a year-round firm. That way if there is a problem you can access your records whenever you need to.

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