Did your paid preparer (notice I didn’t say tax pro) tell you that you owed a Shared Responsibility Payment and that you need to write the check to them? If you did, you might be paying it twice. That is if you needed to pay it in the first place.
The Shared Responsibility Payment (SRP) is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which went into effect in 2014. It’s the penalty for taxpayers who didn’t have health insurance coverage for the whole year. It is calculated as part of the tax return preparation and added to the other taxes on the return.
The IRS is receiving reports of preparers who have their clients pay the SRP to them and not to the government. For most taxpayers, their withholding will cover the SRP. If not, they pay it with their regular balance due payment to the US Treasury. The IRS is also concerned that some of the people caught in this scam may not actually owe the SRP.
The IRS has a page about choosing a tax pro and links to the new tax pro directory. On this page you can also learn how to file a complaint against a preparer if you have been taken in this scam. Please, understand that the IRS’s directory of tax pro does not mean that they have the IRS’s recommendation. It’s just a list.
If you think were taken in the scam, get another preparer look at the return to see if you actually owed the SRP. If you are a victim, do file a complaint with the IRS. I don’t know if you will get your money back. You might consider confronting the preparer and if that doesn’t work, I’d talk to the local newspapers, TV and radio stations. You still may not get your money but you might keep someone else from getting taken.