How to Choose a Tax Preparer
If you choose to work with a paid tax preparer, it is imperative that you find a competent professional. Even if somebody else prepares your return, you are still accountable for the content and for any further payments, penalty and interest that could stem from a mistake.
You may be a resident of a state in which tax preparers have no need for a license. However, several tax professionals are licensed and certified, being affiliated with professional organizations that necessitate a certain educational level and provide constant training. Tax preparers without qualifications may miss legit deductions and/or credits, which may have you paying more tax than you ought to. Services differ from one preparer to the next, so you would like to find someone who offers the exact services you need.
Asking questions is important to make certain you are hiring a professional with the suitable skill level. These are smart questions to ask prior to engaging the services of a tax preparer:
> What kind of recognized tax training do you have?
> Do you have any professional licenses or designations, like certified public accountant (CPA), registered accounting practitioner (RAP), or accredited tax preparer (ATP)?
> Do you take ongoing professional education classes yearly?
> How long have you worked as a tax preparer?
> Have you ever prepared a tax return similar to what I need?
> How much do I need to pay you and how is your fee set?
> Will you be around to help me with any issues I might have in the future?
> Do you do e-filing?
> Are you authorized and will you be able to represent me with the IRS or the state treasury if necessary?
> Can you give me names of references I can call and speak to about the quality of your work?
Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area to know if there are or were complaints against the preparer you’re considering.
> If the refund will be direct deposited, will it go to my account or to yours or yoru company’s? Your refund must always be forwarded to your account, end of story.
Steer clear of those who maintain they can get hold of larger refunds for you than other preparers, those who “promise” results, and those who want to be paid a percentage your refund. Select someone you can get to after the return has been filed and is receptive to your needs. Consider that e-filed returns are more often than not processed sooner than returns which are mailed. E-filed returns will still subject to examination, and you ought to rely on Treasury in terms of the return processing deadlines, not the preparer.
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