How to choose a tax preparer

This time of year is perfect for taking a look at your financial situation and making changes if needed. Your relationship with your tax professional is a very important one. It’s vital that the person you entrust with your tax preparation and planning needs is qualified, that you feel comfortable asking questions and you’re taken care of the entire year. Here are some tips from the IRS to help you choose a tax preparer:

  • Check the preparer’s qualifications and history – All paid tax preparers are required to have an identification number (PTIN). Also, ask if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization and attends continuing education classes. It also may be helpful to check with the Better Business Bureau or state boards.
  • Ask about fees – Avoid preparers who base fees on your refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.
  • Ask about electronic filing – If a preparer files more than 10 returns for clients, he or she must file electronically, unless you opt to file a paper return.
  • Make sure your tax professional is accessible, even after the due date, in case you have questions.
  • Provide all records and receipts to your preparer – A quality tax preparer will request to see records and receipts, as well as have multiple questions to determine your qualifications for expenses, deductions, etc.
  • Review your return before signing it – Never sign a blank return, and be sure to review your return and ask any questions you have. Always make sure you understand your tax return and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it. Your tax preparer, by law, also must sign the return and include his or her PTIN.

Always remember that if you’re not happy or completely comfortable with your tax preparer or situation, you should speak up! Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions—after all, this is your financial life, and you’re in control.

For more information, check out this IRS article.

In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this newsletter is not to be considered a “covered opinion” or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for IRS audit, tax dispute, or any other purpose.

On November 6, 2012, posted in: Tax & Accounting Tips by