How to Choose a Tax Preparer
If you choose to employ a paid tax preparer, it is vital that you find a practiced 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 reside in a state where tax preparers don’t need to be licensed. However, various tax professionals are licensed and certified, belonging to professional organizations that demand a specific level of education and provide continuous training. Incompetent tax preparers may fail to notice justifiable deductions and/or credits, which can make you pay more tax than you must. Services are different for every preparer, so you need to find somebody who gives you what you need.
Asking questions is important to make certain you are hiring a professional with the suitable skill level. Below are good questions to ask ahead of hiring the services of a tax preparer:
> What type of official tax training do you have?
> Are you a holder of any professional licenses or designations, for example, accredited tax preparer (ATP), certified public accountant (CPA), or registered accounting practitioner (RAP)?
> Do you take continuous professional education courses from year to year?
> How long have you been in this line of work?
> Have you ever prepared a tax return similar to what I need?
> How much are your charges and how do you decide on your fee?
> Are you available throughout the year to help me with any difficulties I may have in the future?
> Do you offer e-filing services?
> Can you and will you represent me before the IRS or the state treasury if needed?
> Can you give me names of references I can call and speak to about the quality of your work?
Consider checking with the Better Business Bureau in your area to learn about complaints against the preparer, if any.
> If the refund will be direct deposited, will it go to my account or to yours or yoru company’s? Your refund should always go to your account, period.
Stay away from those who say they can get bigger refunds than other preparers, or those who “promise” results, along with those who set their fees on a cut of your refund. Pick someone you will be able to reach even after your return has been filed and who is open and receptive to your needs. Keep in mind that e-filed returns are typically processed faster than returns that come through the mail. 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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