California tax education council
The California Tax Education Council (CTEC) is a nonprofit organization established by the California State Legislature to protect taxpayers against fraudulent tax preparers. Since its inception, most public awareness efforts have focused on educating Californians on how to find a legal tax preparer. Recent focus groups showed most taxpayers understood what the law requires or knew how to find a tax preparer through the appropriate channels.
Although it was promising news, there was one sector of fraud they hadn't paid much attention to - tax preparers who do not sign tax returns, also known as "ghost tax preparers." It is an issue even the IRS struggles to get under control.
These so called "ghosts" disappear without a trace right after tax season - always leaving clients holding the bag with tax returns full of errors and fraud. Because they never sign the tax return, government authorities struggle to find ways to track them down.
CTEC is taking the lead to educate taxpayers about ghost tax preparers. It is the first time an entire public awareness effort has focused on tracking down ghost tax preparers within the State of California.
A microsite was developed to educate taxpayers and track campaign results. Outdoor advertisements, media interviews, social media and educational videos were also implemented to attract traffic.
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