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Research tax professionals before handing over your information this tax season

IRS has a tool to help and investigators warn about falling for phony sales pitches
Posted at 5:00 AM, Feb 07, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — Recently News5 visited Harrison Tax Services, a family-owned business that’s spent decades building trust and relationships with people in the Pikes Peak region who need help filing their taxes.

They say now is the time to do the research on the people and companies you might consider handing your taxes to in the coming weeks because every year people wait until the last minute and end up sharing their sensitive tax information with people they hope they can trust.

“Look for somebody who has been around for a while,” said Kirk Harrison, a licensed tax professional at Harris Tax Services. “Look for someone who is licensed.”

Harrison’s family has been in the tax-preparing business since the 1970s. They pride themselves on being problem solvers.

”I even reconciled a couple who was getting divorced once,” Harrison laughed. “They were sitting here and said we’re going to get divorced in a month and so I started explaining how their taxes were going to change in the next year and they decided it was too much work. So, every year on Valentine’s Day I get a card from them.”

He says as a tax professional he has access to a large amount of sensitive information that needs to be secured and handled with care.

”When you do taxes for someone, if I was doing your taxes for example you would come in and you would give me your name, I have your social security number, I’ve got your birth date, I know where your bank account is and all that,” said Harrison. “You give me all that so I can do your taxes for you and give you your refund back. So you need to be very careful who you give their information to.”

If someone handling your taxes fails to protect your information and even makes mistakes on your behalf, Harrison says it will put you at risk for identity theft and could result in some serious headaches from an IRS audit.

IRS investigators tell News5 it’s important not to buy into a phony sales pitch from someone who wants to do your taxes.

”If there are promises of huge tax refunds if you go to them, there aren’t these secret loopholes that certain people know to exploit. It’s usually pretty consistent,” said Special Agent In Charge Andy Tsui with the IRS Investigations Denver Field Office.

At Harrison Tax Services, the licensed professionals say it’s important to have realistic expectations for your tax return right now.

”You really can’t promise a big refund until you look at stuff and I think that’s going to be a real problem this year especially because the IRS guidelines on how withholding was done has changed over the last couple of years,” warned Harrison. “So, people had a lot less money withheld and so they’re going to end up with smaller refunds or even owing a little bit where they didn’t before.”

The IRS does have a tool to help you search for licensed tax professionals in an area near you.

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