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Yuma County

Tax 411: Tips to avoid tax scams

CBS 13's April Hettinger speaks with the IRS

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Now that the tax filing deadline has been pushed back a month, you have a little extra time to get that paperwork in.

Taxes are now due by May 17th, but an extension can be requested for up to October 15th.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says 55% of Americans use a paid tax preparer.

IRS agent Brian Watson came to Yuma to let residents know there are some things to look out for.

"A ghost preparer is someone that you pay and they file the return for you and they prepare the return, but they don't put their name on or their PTIN in it and you have to ask, 'why aren't they willing to put their name on it?' A lot of times, those individuals, those ghost preparers they disappear when the tax season is over," Watson said.

Tax preparers must put their name the tax form along with their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

Unemployment benefits are taxable, but stimulus payments are not.

Local Paula Siebert says she has to pay the IRS back this year and isn't looking forward to it.

"We got the stimulus checks and then when we filed our taxes, it was almost like they took them back from us," Siebert explained.

A new section of the tax form also requires Americans to document all virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

Consumer / Local News / Top Stories
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After a short 3 ½ years, she earned bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Journalism and Spanish but gained memories and friendships she will always remember.

She began her broadcast journalism career through NAZ Today, northern Arizona’s local news station, by covering breaking news, building relationships with the community, learning to produce a newscast and anchoring live. Although she will miss her snowy mountain town, she is excited to further her broadcast career and take on the heat in a great city like Yuma.

She is looking forward to floating down at the Colorado River, riding dirt bikes at the sand dunes, and most importantly, serving the community through local news.

You can send any story ideas her way by emailing april.hettinger@kecytv.com.

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