The lies are often simple — dependents who do not exist, income that was never earned. The goal is to maximize the tax refund, which increases the preparer’s fee.


Even when taxpayers do complain, neither the IRS nor federal prosecutors have prioritized prosecution of unscrupulous tax preparers, leaving low-income families on the hook.

The IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate want the IRS to license tax preparers. Before adding to the cost and paperwork of honest preparers, they might want to use the tools they already have to push back against the bad ones.