How To Select A Tax Preparer
If you are going to pay someone to do your tax return, be sure to choose your tax preparer wisely. You are legally responsible for what is on your tax return even if it was prepared by someone else. Therefore, it is important to find a qualified tax professional.
Be sure to:
Find a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
Find out what the preparer’s service fees are before the return is prepared.
Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of your refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns.
Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.
Before signing your return, review it and ask questions.
Ask others that you know and trust who have used that preparer if they were satisfied with the services that they received.
Ask any preparer for references.
Check to see if the preparer has any questionable history with the Better Business Bureau, the state’s board of accountancy for CPAs or the state’s bar association for attorneys.
Check to see if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
Check to see if the preparer has a proper Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is required to file federal tax returns beginning in 2011.
Check to see if the IRS has obtained a permanent injunction prohibiting the preparer from preparing federal tax returns.
Question entries on your return that you don’t understand. Never sign a blank return.
Insist that the preparer sign the return and provide appropriate taxpayer information on the return.
Always obtain a completed copy of your return from your preparer.
Traits of a Reputable Preparer
They ask multiple questions to determine whether expenses, deductions and other items qualify and remind clients that they need to keep careful and complete records in order to substantiate information contained on their tax return. They do this with their client’s best interest in mind and are trying to help their client avoid penalties, interest or additional taxes.
They provide their clients with a copy of their completed return for their records.
They respond to contacts made by their clients in a reasonable period of time.