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    Choosing a Tax Professional Tips from the IRS
    If you pay someone to prepare your tax return, the IRS urges you to choose that
    preparer wisely. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their tax return even if
    it is prepared by someone else. So, it is important to choose carefully when hiring an
    individual or firm to prepare your return. Most return preparers are professional,
    honest and provide excellent service to their clients.
    Here are a few points to keep in mind when someone else prepares your return:
    •        Check the person's qualifications. Ask if the preparer is affiliated with a
    professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and
    resources and holds them to a code of ethics. New regulations effective in 2011 require
    all paid tax return preparers including attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents to have a
    Preparer Tax Identification Number.

    •        Check the preparer's history. Check to see if the preparer has a questionable
    history with the Better Business Bureau and check for any disciplinary actions and
    licensure status through the state boards of accountancy for certified public
    accountants; the state bar associations for attorneys; and the IRS Office of
    Professional Responsibility for enrolled agents.

    •        Find out about their service fees. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a
    percentage of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other
    preparers.

    •        Make sure the tax preparer is accessible. Make sure you will be able to contact
    the tax preparer after the return has been filed, even after the April due date, in case
    questions arise.

    •        Provide all records and receipts needed to prepare your return. Most reputable
    preparers will request to see your records and receipts and will ask you multiple
    questions to determine your total income and your qualifications for expenses,
    deductions and other items.

    •        Never sign a blank return. Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax
    form.

    •        Review the entire return before signing it. Before you sign your tax return, review
    it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with
    the accuracy of the return before you sign it.

    •        Make sure the preparer signs the form and includes their PTIN. A paid preparer
    must sign the return and include their PTIN as required by law. Although the preparer
    signs the return, you are responsible for the accuracy of every item on your return.
    The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
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FTC Obtains Court Order Halting
Business Coaching Scheme
Defendants falsely claimed consumers could earn substantial income
At the Federal Trade Commission’s request, a federal court has temporarily halted
an operation that took more than $14 million from consumers seeking to start their
own online business. The operation misrepresented that its purported business
coaching program would enable consumers to earn substantial income, such as “six
figures in 90 days or less.”

According to the FTC, the defendants induced consumers to pay for a series of
tiered memberships with increasing fees, falsely claiming that consumers would learn
how to make substantial income with an online business. They promised consumers
they would receive individualized coaching from successful marketers that would
provide what they needed to build a successful business, but, in reality, these were
merely salespeople selling higher membership levels in the defendants’ program.
The defendants promoted their scheme via webpages and social media platforms,
including Facebook and Instagram, and offered their marketing materials for
consumers to use in posting their own ads touting the scheme. The FTC’s complaint
states that most of defendants’ customers never earn substantial income, including
some people who were charged more than $50,000.

The defendants are Digital Altitude LLC, Digital Altitude Limited, Aspire Processing
LLC, Aspire Processing Limited, Aspire Ventures Ltd, Disc Enterprises Inc., RISE
Systems & Enterprise LLC (Utah), RISE Systems & Enterprise LLC (Nevada), The
Upside LLC, Thermography for Life LLX, also doing business as Living Exceptionally
Inc., and Michael Force, Mary Dee, Morgan Johnson, Alan Moore and Sean Brown.
They are charged with violating the FTC Act.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 2-0. The U.S.
District Court for the Central District of California issued a temporary restraining
order against the defendants on February 1, 2018.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law
has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a