Finding the Right 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.
In your state, tax preparers maynot have to be licensed. However, a lot of tax professionals are licensed and certified, being part of professional organizations that call for a particular level of education and provide continuing training. Tax preparers without qualifications may miss legit deductions and/or credits, which may have you paying more tax than you ought to. Services vary from one preparer to another, so you have to find one who provides the services you require.
Asking questions is key to confirming if you are hiring a professional with the appropriate 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?
> 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 continuous professional education courses from year to year?
> How long have you been working as a tax professional?
> Have you ever done a tax return similar to the one I need?
> How much do I need to pay you and how is your fee set?
> 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 are you willing to represent me in an any matter before the IRS or the state treasury if the situation calls for it?
> Can you give me a list of names of your past or current clients whom I can talk 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 is going to be direct deposited, will my account receive it or yours? Your refund must always go to your account, no questions asked.
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. Pick someone you will be able to reach even after your return has been filed and who is open and receptive to your needs. Consider that e-filed returns are more often than not processed sooner than returns which are mailed. E-filed returns remain subject to assessment, and you have to rely on Treasury when it comes to the processing deadlines, not the preparer.