You're legally responsible for the information on your return no matter what a preparer tells you, so make sure to look over your return before it's sent to the IRS.
"Preparers can promise you the world, but then when they deduct a bunch of stuff they shouldn't, you're going to be the one stuck with an audit," said Villamena. Also, you'll be required to repay any money you receive fraudulently.
This year, all paid preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) so customers can verify that they are legitimate. Ask preparers to see their PTIN before signing up for help, and be wary if your preparer doesn't put a PTIN on your return when submitting it to the IRS, said Villamena.
From pet pigs to Playboy magazines, here are some of the most outlandish deductions taxpayers have tried to slip past the IRS.
|Whole Foods CEOs admit to overcharging, apologize|
|Donald Trump's Miss USA back on TV: Reelz channel steps in|
|Unemployment falls to 5.3% -- lowest in 7 years|
|Why isn't the middle class earning $156,000 a year?|
|Saudi prince pledges $32 billion to charity|