Go It Alone: With tax day approaching, you might want to take a second look at who's crunching the numbers for your return. A new government report finds that just 2 of 19 mainly unregulated tax preparers calculated the correct refund for their clients. Unregulated preparers are those not subject to oversight by the government and they are not lawyers or CPA’s. A whopping 55% of all tax preparers fall into that category. The Government Accountability Office found errors ranging from getting the taxpayer $52 less to $3,700 more than they were entitled to. But not all were mistakes-- some were outright fraud.
In some egregious cases, preparers calculated a taxpayer's refund in person and skipped the line that shows who did the work. then after the taxpayer leaves, the taxpayer falsifies the math to boost the refund, files the return and pockets the difference. and worst of all, unless the taxpayer can prove what happened, they're on the hook for the money when the IRS finds out.
You might be better off wading through the paperwork by yourself. The report finds 60% of professionally prepared returns had mistakes compared to 50% when completed by the taxpayer alone.
Watch Where You Point That Thing: A seventh grader says he was suspended-- because another student claimed he pretended his pencil was a gun. Ethan Chaplin tells News12 New Jersey he was just twisting his pencil around a pen cap during math class when a classmate who had been bullying him accused him of making gun motions. Policy dictates the school must investigate if anyone claims to feel threatened.
Ethan's dad says the boy had to undergo a five hour physical and psychological evaluation. The principal tells the Huffington Post there's more to the story but he cannot comment because of privacy laws. Ethan has since returned to school.
Stripper For Seniors: And finally, an update to a story we brought you yesterday in our outside the beltway segment. Turns out the New York man suing his mother's nursing home for hiring a male stripper may have a hard time proving his case.
A picture surfaced showing 85 year old Bernice Youngblood putting a dollar in the dancer's underwear. Her son alleges the staff hired the man for quote perverse pleasure, but the nursing home's attorney says the activities panel-- made up of residents-- voted to hire the dancer and provided $250. The New York post reports the strip tease has attracted the attention of the state attorney general who is looking into the case.