If you have a complaint about your tax preparer, or if you suspect that your tax professional is has engaged in fraudulent activity, you don’t have to remain silent. This in-depth article will show you how to use IRS Form 14157-A to file a complaint against your tax return preparer.
Specifically, we will discuss:
- Exactly what IRS Form 14157-A is
- What types of complaints you can file with this IRS form
- How to complete Form 14157-A
- How to file the completed form
Let’s start with a basic overview of IRS Form 14157-A.
Table of contents
How do I complete IRS Form 14157-A?
This form is relatively straightforward, and has 2 pages. We’ll go through each part with step-by-step instructions.
Page 1: Information About Fraud or Misconduct
At the top of this form, you’ll enter your basic taxpayer contact information:
- Taxpayer name
- Spouse’s name (if applicable)
- Last 4 digits of your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number
- Mailing address
- Include street address, city, state, and zip code
- Tax return preparer’s name.
Just below this field, the form contains a list of possible complaints, based upon what happened with your tax return. You do not have to enter additional information about your tax preparer on this form, as it is contained in the Form 14157 itself.
Once you’ve selected the type of refund fraud or misconduct, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Tax year or tax years impacted for each box
- Whether you used the tax return preparer for other tax years, filings, or returns
- Whether you have a personal relationship
- Family, friend, neighbor, co-worker
- How you found out about the tax return preparer
- Whether you received a tax refund
- Amount of refund, if applicable
- Whether you contacted your tax preparer or financial institution
- Any response
- Whether you paid a tax preparation fee
- How much you paid
- How you paid the fee
Finally, you’ll check whether you authorize the IRS to disclose certain personal information to the bank for further research. This might include:
- Your name
- Mailing address
- Taxpayer identification number
- Bank routing number and bank account number listed on tax return
You do not have to authorize the IRS to do this, but your decision may impact whether the IRS can take legal action.
Page 2: Narrative
On Page 2, you’ll enter, in plain language, what happened. Use additional sheets as required, but be sure to include as much information as you can.
At the bottom is the signature field. If your spouse’s name is on Page 1, then both you and your spouse must sign the bottom of Page 2. Be sure to include your telephone number, with area code, so that an IRS representative can contact you for more information.
How do I file Form 14157-A?
If you are responding to official IRS correspondence, then you should follow the filing instructions contained in your IRS letter.
Otherwise, you can fax or mail your completed form, as well as the following tax documents, to the IRS Service Center where you would normally file your federal income tax return:
- IRS Form 14157
- Signed copy of your tax return as you intended to file it
- Copy of the completed tax return as it was actually filed by your return preparer
In addition to the basic documents, you may need to include additional paperwork, based upon your circumstances.
Evidence showing that the tax preparer held themselves out as being in the business of preparing returns
To meet this requirement, you may submit one or more of the following:
- Copy of tax return received from the tax preparer that identifies the preparer
- Business card of the preparer
- Flyer or advertisement indicating the name of preparer and the preparer’s services
- Professional or business letterhead bearing name of the preparer
- Business name on check from preparer
Evidence corroborating that there was interaction with the tax preparer
To prove that you actually interacted with the preparer, you may need to submit copies of one or more of these documents. Unless specifically requested, you should keep the original versions for your records.
- Tax return received from the tax preparer that identifies the preparer
- Documents received from tax preparer
- Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, with signatures or evidence it was received by the preparer
- Negotiated check for payment to the preparer for tax preparation services
- Refund check the taxpayer received from the preparer
- Credit card statement reflecting charge in the preparer’s name for payment for services
- Receipt from the preparer, reflecting a fee for the preparation of a tax return for the year in question
- Paper check(s) reflecting the amount received by paper check, if applicable
- E-mail or text messages exchanged between the taxpayer and preparer concerning the tax return preparation
If you are claiming you received no refund or received only a portion of your refund
If you’re accusing your tax return preparer of stealing part or all of your tax refund, then you’ll need to attach a copy of a police report. This must be signed by a police officer or law enforcement representative, and contain the following information:
- Tax year(s) involved
- Return preparer’s first and last name, address, and
- A statement describing the preparer misconduct and theft of refund.
Watch this instructional video for step by step instructions on completing IRS Form 14157-A.
Frequently asked questions
IRS Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit, is the form a taxpayer may use when reporting a professional tax preparer to the Internal Revenue Service for tax fraud or misconduct. Since the IRS requires each paid tax return preparer to register and to have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), the IRS can use a filed Form 14157-A to start an investigation and hold unethical tax return preparers accountable for unprofessional activity.
This tax form allows a taxpayer to complain about a variety of tax preparer acts. This includes:
-Theft of refund
-Improper use of the e-File system or disobeying the IRS e-file rules
-Using false items or documents when filing income tax returns
–Employment tax issues
No. Instead of using IRS Form 14157-A, taxpayers who believe their identity has been stolen will use IRS Form 14039-Identity Theft Affidavit. Form 14039 contains additional information about where to send the completed form.
According to the IRS website, ghost preparers help complete tax return information, but will not actually sign the tax return. The Internal Revenue Code requires all paid tax preparers must have a preparer tax identification number, or PTIN, and that the paid preparer must put their PTIN on all income tax returns they prepare. In contrast to federal law, ghost tax preparers usually avoid using their PTIN, if they even have one in the first place.
Here is a list of common complaints about these unethical tax return preparers:
-Require payment in cash only and not provide a receipt
-Invent income to qualify their clients for tax credits
-Claim fake deductions to boost the size of the refund
-Direct deposit refund into their bank account, not the taxpayer’s account
No. You will also need to file IRS Form 14157 to accompany the tax preparer fraud or misconduct affidavit.
Where do I get a copy of IRS Form 14157-A?
You may obtain a copy of the blank tax form from the IRS website or download it here.