Mount Pocono tax preparer has done her homework. So should you.

By Wayne Witkowski
Pocono Record Business Editor


It’s tax season, and accountant Kim Carter Pettigrew has studied on the changes in the tax code.

It’s a typical year for her in this regard. Because she works strictly with customers who are employed or self-employed, she said it takes two days to brush up on the new laws. Those accountants handling business returns need much more time for more complex laws.

Carter Pettigrew — accountant and office manager for the past five years of Smart Tax’s only franchised office in Monroe County, at the Kmart shopping plaza in Mount Pocono — also is issuing a warning to customers who are harried as they leave filing their return until close to the deadline. She urges them to avoid callers who say they can streamline the work. It’s part of a increasing attempt by scammers to steal personal information, file a return before you do, and claim a refund.

“The earlier you file, the less chance you have of people (unlawfully) using your Social Security number or the Social Security numbers of your dependents (on the return),” Carter Pettigrew said.

“The earlier you get it (your tax return) in, the earlier it is locked into the system. Otherwise, it can get a red flag, and (the IRS) looking into it, especially people trying to use it for second time.”

It may seem hard to imagine that consumers could be that rushed to divulge their personal information to an unknown, random caller, but Carter Pettigrew said it happens.

“There have been cases, and if you don’t know who’s calling you and they’re not tax preparers and eventually if you sign paperwork, they can use your identity,” Carter Pettigrew said.

The entire article can be read here.