The Scary Truth About Ghost Tax Preparers

Taxpayer Beware

Jan 15 2021 • 21 mins

It is a problem that happens every tax season. Ghost tax preparers. Who are they? They charge a fee to do your taxes, but never sign your tax return.

So what can happen if a tax preparer doesn't sign? Well, how about owing thirteen thousand in fraudulent taxes?

Or paying back your refund. With interest.

Unfortunately, it happens. And by the way, not signing is also against the law.

In fact, we have stories to share and how you can avoid it happening to you. Brandon Chanley, Chair of the California Tax Education Council (CTEC), chats with Fernando Angell, a tax professional with a true story about a victim he helped.

In California, only an attorney, CPA, CTEC registered tax preparer or IRS enrolled agent can do your taxes for a fee. Anyone who is preparing tax returns without one of those four legal designations is breaking state law. And there are thousands doing just that.

To find or verify the legal status of a tax preparer, visit