Identity Theft FAQ's

What are some warning signs that my tax preparer is unethical?

Unfortunately, some dishonest “tax preparers” scam honest taxpayers who are simply trying to do the right thing and file a legitimate tax return. These scammers, also known as abusive preparers, hurt honest taxpayers in an attempt to make fast money.

An abusive preparer is a paid tax preparer that generally promises larger refunds than other preparers. Some warning signs that your tax preparer may be an “abusive preparer” include:

  • They do not list themselves as the preparer of your tax return;
  • They collect fees based on a percentage of your refund;
  • They require you to pay in cash and/or do not issue a receipt;
  • They deposit your refund into their bank account;
  • They do not have or will not provide their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN);
  • They claim false credits and/or deductions on your return.

If you believe that you have fallen victim to an abusive preparer scam, please report it to the Ohio Department of Taxation by email ( or by phone at 1-800-282-1780 (1-800-750-0750 for the hearing impaired) from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday excluding holidays. Please do not attach any documents or include your full SSN when emailing the Department of Taxation.

Also, complete Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer and send it to the IRS.