By the end of this month, employers are required by law to provide their employees with their tax documents, W-2 or 1099 forms.

The deadline to file your federal income tax return is April 15, while the state deadline is May 15.

The Better Business of Acadiana says this is also the time of you when scammers and disreputable tax preparers are looking to take advantage of you.

They can steal your money, documents, identity and more.  The BBB suggests that you should be aware that fraud can happen at anytime.

The BBB's press release cautions:

" According to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2012 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, identity theft complaints indicate that a growing number of victims are facing government documents or benefits fraud, with 43.4 percent claiming tax or wage related fraud. It is important to choose a reputable tax preparer and not fall victim to tax-related scams. One of the most common tax scams involves phishing for your private information by someone who is impersonating the IRS. They may say that there is a problem with your refund and they need your personal and/or financial information to resolve the issue. These phishing attempts have been known to happen via phone or email. Consumers should know that the IRS does not correspond with the public in this manner."

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana says scammers can:

  • Skim part of their clients’ refunds
  • Overcharge for services
  • Attract clients by making promises that are too good to be true

So how do you work to ensure that your tax season is free of problems.  The BBB has these suggestions:

  • Beware of any phishing emails or phone calls that seem to be from the IRS or your bank. Do not give any personal information or click on any links.
  • Contact the IRS or your bank directly if you receive such a correspondence. Ask them if they are trying to get in touch with you. They are likely NOT and you should forward them the email you received for them to investigate.
  • Beware of anyone who pressures you to sign up for immediate payment of your refund that involves high interest loan. Consider these options carefully and do not be high-pressured.
  • Beware of those that boast they can get larger refunds than their competitors.
    Beware of anyone who bases their fee on a percentage of the refund amount, rather than the complexity of the tax return.
  • Choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare your return. All paid tax preparers must sign the return they prepare and enter their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana says always check out people and companies before doing business with them.  To find out more information go to http://www.acadiana.bbb.org.