Tax filing season is officially upon us. As taxpayers begin to carefully gather their official documents and receipts in preparation for filing a tax return, many are choosing to hire a professional tax preparer. Wisely selecting a professional is critical because taxpayers are ultimately responsible for all the necessary information on their return, no matter who prepares it.
Taxpayers trust the paid tax preparer with the details of their financial life and their most personal information, including marital status, income level, children, and social security numbers. Check out our tips for determining the proper professional for you:
Request a quote for the standard fees. Taxpayers should avoid tax preparers who base costs on a percentage of the refund or offer to deposit the money into their financial accounts. Taxpayers should also be suspicious of any tax preparer claiming they can get larger refunds than other professionals.
Ask if the tax preparer plans to use e-file. The quickest way to receive a tax refund is by e-filing and selecting direct deposit.
Ensure the preparer will be available if needed.
Confirm the paid preparer signs and includes their PTIN on the tax return.
Consider the preparer or firm's credentials. Only attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in tax matters. Other tax preparers who participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program have limited practice rights to represent taxpayers during audits of returns they prepared.
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