February 19, 2013 — Sacramento– The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the California Tax Education Council (CTEC) remind California taxpayers who use a tax professional to make sure they have the proper information to choose one carefully.
CTEC, a non-profit corporation established by the California legislature, and FTB have partnered to educate taxpayers about tax preparer’s legal responsibilities, and to make sure those preparers are complying with the law. While more than 41,000 registered tax preparers are ready to assist California taxpayers, some operate outside the law and run the risk of penalties for themselves and their clients.
FTB advises taxpayers to avoid tax preparers who:
- Claim they can get larger refunds than other tax preparers.
- Base their fee on a percentage of the refund amount.
- Refuse to sign the tax return as the paid preparer even though it is required by law.
- Do not provide a copy of the tax return for the taxpayer’s records.
FTB Publication 982, How to Select an Income Tax Return Preparer offers more guidance on choosing a tax professional. Taxpayers should make sure their preparer is a licensed CPA, enrolled agent, attorney, or a registered tax preparer.
The following organizations provide information about licensed and registered tax professionals in California:
- California Board of Accountancy dca.ca.gov/cba.
- California Society of Certified Public Accountantscalcpa.org.
- State Bar of California calbar.ca.gov.
- California Society of Enrolled Agents csea.org.
- California Tax Education Council ctec.org.
California requires anyone preparing state and federal tax returns for a fee and who is not an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent to register as a tax preparer with CTEC. Each CTEC-registered tax preparer must complete courses on federal and state tax laws each year, plus obtain a $5,000 surety bond to protect clients against fraud.
Unregistered tax preparers are issued a $2,500 penalty, which doubles if the individual continues to prepare returns. Last year, FTB assessed 122 tax preparers with penalties for failing to be properly licensed or registered.
If taxpayers suspect a tax preparer is fraudulent, they should inform FTB online at ftb.ca.gov by selecting “Report Tax Fraud” under the online services, or by calling 800.540.FILE (3453). If a tax preparer cannot be verified as either an attorney, CPA, CTEC-registered tax preparer, or enrolled agent, consumers are asked to fill out a “Noncompliant Complaint Form” at www.ctec.org.
Source: State of CA Franchise Tax Board
Congressman Sherman Announces How Los Angeles Residents Can Find Out If They Have Unclaimed Tax Refunds
CBS Los Angeles and CBS 2 News Los Angeles reported on Saturday, April 14, 2012 that Congressman Brad Sherman (D – Sherman Oaks) has uncovered more than 4,000 taxpayers in LA County who are owed checks from the IRS.
The government says they have been unable to find the 4,176 people in Los Angeles County are owed about $6,722,735 in tax refunds, but at a press conference Saturday, Sherman said he was able to track down some of the recipients. Combined, the LA County residents are owed $6.7 million.
On his website http://bradsherman.house.gov/index.shtml states that Sherman, who is a CPA and tax law specialist, will also volunteer his services to help senior citizens and other local residents at a free tax clinic at Pierce College.
To help assist taxpayers collect their refund, Congressman Sherman has posted a list of all Los Angeles County residents who are owed a refund for their 2010 taxes on his web page.
See if the IRS Owes YOU Money!
For All Residents in Los Angeles County: CA LA County Undeliverable Refunds
If you see your name, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 and ask forForm 3911 to claim your refund. If you live outside the Los Angeles County Area (or if you did live outside the LA County area when a refund may have been sent to you), call the IRS at that same main number, (800) 829-1040, and an IRS service representative will help you.
More Helpful Refund Information:
Taxpayers should also check with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) for unclaimed refunds. There are some 52,000 old refunds in California from previous years remaining at the FTB which are cumulatively worth $17 million. The largest outstanding individual refund is worth over $39,000.
To claim a missing refund from the FTB, you must call them at (800) 338-0505 for assistance. Through this telephone number, the FTB can initiate an investigation into a missing refund and, if applicable, issue a new refund check.
Reminder to Taxpayers:
If you need extra time paying your taxes during these hard economic times, you have the option of filing an IRS Form 9465 to request a monthly installment plan (or apply online at http://www.irs.gov). You can also file a California FTB Form 3561 to request an installment plan for your state taxes.
Photo credit to: http://bradsherman.house.gov