A tax return that has been signed by a taxpayer but is altered by the return preparer, without the taxpayer's knowledge, before it is filed is not valid. This advice was contained in a project manager technical advice memorandum, PMTA 2011-20.
The memorandum noted that some preparers (who were subsequently indicted for fraud) have altered returns previously approved by taxpayers by overstating income, deductions, credits, or withholding. The inflated items create a larger-than-expected refund and the preparer keeps the excess over that reflected on the return signed by the taxpayer, it said.
According to the PMTA, an altered return fails to meet the tests for a valid tax return because the document submitted to the IRS is not the document signed and approved by the taxpayer or authorized to be filed electronically with the IRS, it said.