Updated: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 7:37 PM EST
Published : Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 4:56 PM EST
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - We'd all love a big, fat tax return, but before you pay someone to do yours make sure you know how to sniff out possible scams.
The IRS offers these tips:
Tidewater Tax-Aide Site Manager Ron Jesberg says if you need help, you don't have to pay someone to do your taxes.
"The beauty with us is one person prepares it and another reviews and it doesn't cost you anything," Jesbuerg said.
If what he's saying sounds too good to be true well, it's not.
At the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library in Virginia Beach, highly trained volunteers prepared nearly 5,000 returns last season and filed each one electronically.
E-filing is what the IRS recommends.
But you will not walk out with any cash in hand, the free service doesn't offer that.
"The paid preparers...one of their goals is to get you to take an instant loan and when you take that loan it's a very expensive loan and they don't tell you that," Jesberg explained.
The Better Business Bureau warns automatic refunds and prepaid gift or debit cards are basically loans that charge high interest rates ranging from 50 percent to 500 percent in some cases.
The IRS usually delivers refunds in 10 days, making most automatic refunds unnecessary.
Also, never sign a blank return and always have the preparer included his or her tax preparer ID number on your return.
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