With tax season approaching quickly, it is important that you find the right IRS tax preparer to help file your tax returns. Regardless of who prepares the actual return, the taxpayer is liable for all the information submitted and any money owed after the return is filed. So, it’s important that you find someone who knows how to file individual tax returns. Quite often taxpayers get into trouble with the IRS because of a tax preparer that did not file correctly or made mistakes on their individual tax return. Here’s a few tips from the IRS that can help taxpayers find the best tax preparers.
- The Preparer’s credibility is the first thing you should check. The IRS has provided a Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials. In the directory, you can select qualifications that you want. This tool is very useful when you’re trying to find a qualified tax preparer.
- A good way to know if a preparer is trustworthy is by checking their history and prior clients. Look and see if the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. There you can see reviews, complaints and ratings. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to the verify enrolled agent status page on IRS.gov or check the directory.
- Taxpayers want to ensure that they are not being ripped off. If a preparer is basing the tax preparation fees off a percentage from your IRS tax refund, avoid them. Preparers who claim they have the biggest refunds in the industry are probably exaggerating their success as well. When asking about a preparer’s services and fees, don’t give them tax documents, Social Security numbers or other information.
- Ask to E-File. Taxpayers should make sure their preparer offers IRS e-file. The quickest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to electronically file their federal tax return and use direct deposit. There is no benefit from not using an electronic filing system.
- Demand is high for tax preparers, especially during this time of the year. Make sure that your preparer is available. Taxpayers often need to contact their preparers after their return has been submitted, so make sure your preparer is around and available.
- Provide Records and Receipts to your tax preparer. Good preparers will ask to see a taxpayer’s records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to figure things like the total income, tax deductions and credits. These documents are okay to provide to your preparer.
- Never Sign a Blank Return. Don’t use a tax preparer who asks a taxpayer to sign a blank tax form. This is not normal and you have every right to decline signing blank tax preparation forms.
- You should always review your return before signing it. Before signing a tax return, review it, and ask questions if something is not clear. Remember this is YOUR tax return. You need a tax preparer who makes you feel comfortable asking questions and comfortable with the accuracy of their work. Also make sure that you are getting a copy of the return, check the bank routing numbers and account numbers the return will be submitted to.
- Make sure the Preparer signs and includes their PTIN. All paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. By law, paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN.
- Always report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. It is very rare that you will run into a dishonest or unreliable tax preparer. However, it can happen. Report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their return without the taxpayer’s consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.
If you need help filing this year’s IRS tax return or need help filing income tax returns from previous years, Polston Tax can help. Our team of tax preparers can help file every IRS Individual Tax Return or Business Tax Return you need. Call us today at 844-841-9857 or click hereto schedule a free consultation!