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AG Eric Schneiderman offers tips as tax deadline nears

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman speaks

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman speaks at a news conference in New York City on Feb. 11, 2016. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

Taxpayers should never give out information over the telephone. In fact, they should never give personal information over the telephone to a caller posing as a government official, the state attorney general advised as the tax filing deadline drew closer.

“Consumers should not engage this type of caller or provide any personal information,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Sunday in a news release.

“The IRS and legitimate government agencies will never demand immediate payment or payment information over the phone,” the attorney general said.

Schneiderman also offered the following tips for taxpayers:

-- If you owe money, you will receive a notice in writing that identifies the agency and the reason you owe money.

-- Do not give out personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account information, or other payment information, to telephone callers.

-- The government will never threaten arrest or deportation for failure to pay a debt.

-- The government will never insist that consumers pay a debt only via a prepaid credit card.

-- If you use a tax preparer, use only established and recognizable ones.

-- Check the tax preparer’s qualifications and history through the Better Business Bureau.

-- Ask for a written estimate of all fees, and avoid those who base their fees on a percentage of your refund.

-- Avoid tax preparers that promise cash for preparing the return, but in fact merely offer a discount on inflated fees.

-- Make sure the tax preparer is accessible, even after the April due date.

-- Never sign a blank return.

-- Review the entire return before signing.

-- Make sure the preparer signs the tax form and includes a preparer tax identification number.

The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, rather than the traditional April 15 date, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

In 2017, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday — April 17. However, Emancipation Day — a legal holiday in the District of Columbia — will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline one more day.

Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation.

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