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How to Choose a Tax Preparer

Do you usually feel overwhelmed during tax season when choosing a qualified tax return preparer? In any case, you need to select with caution. A paid tax return preparer is mainly responsible for the general substantive accuracy of your return, and legally, this person is obliged to sign the return and provide their PTIN (preparer tax identification number). However, you have to keep in mind that you are still responsible for the accuracy of each item that is reported on your return. Professional tax return preparers must have thorough knowledge of matters related to taxes. Try seeking referrals from friends, relatives or officemates who may know a competent tax return preparer.

One thing to consider is whether or not your prospect will be easy to contact in case there are a few things on your return that the IRS wants explained. You can designate your preparer or any third party to represent you before tax authorities in case there are problems with your return’s preparation, such as mathematical errors or payment/refund issues. IRS tax forms come with a third-party authorization checkbox which you can tick to give your designated party the authority to take care of all matters relative to you return for a period of one year counting from your original due date (excluding extensions). However, unfortunately, there are those who are dishonest and unscrupulous, filing false income tax returns. Make sure to review your return for errors so you can avoid potential legal and financial difficulties.

The following tips can help you choose a good tax return preparer:

> Be careful with tax return preparers who say they can give you bigger refunds than other preparers can.
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> Don’t entertain anyone who wants to be paid based on a percentage of your refund, or wants to have your refund deposited to an account that isn’t yours.
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> Have a preparer with a PTIN, which is a legal requirement for anyone who wants to prepare tax returns for clients.

> Choose a reputable tax professional who provides his PTIN, signs the return, and gives you a copy for your own files.

> Ensure that the preparer will be there for you even months or years following the filing of your return so as to answer any questions the IRS may have. about it.

> Assess your prospect’s credentials.

The IRS will only accept CPAs, attorneys, and enrolled agents as representatives of taxpayers who are having issues on all areas, including appeals, collections and audits. Other preparers can only represent taxpayers for audits of returns that they prepared themselves.

In the end, all you want is a tax return preparer who is worthy of your trust, whether in or out of tax season.