Searching for a Good Tax Preparer
If you want to hire a paid tax preparer, it is important that you pick a qualified professional. Though someone else prepares your return, the content remains your responsibility, including everything that may result from an error, such as interest or penalty. That’s why it’s a must that you are careful in picking the person to take care of your tax documents.
In some states, tax preparers do not need to carry a license, but it pays to hire someone who does and is certified. Before choosing a certain tax preparer, make sure to ask the following questions:
> What formal tax training do you have?
> Do you have any professional licenses or designations, such as registered accounting practitioner (RAP), certified public accountant (CPA), accredited tax preparer (ATP), accredited tax advisor (ATA) or enrolled agent (EA)?
> Do you take continuing education courses yearly?
> How long have you been preparing taxes for clients?
> Have you worked with a client who had a tax situation similar to mine?
> How much will you charge me and how do you determine your rates?
> Will you be around the whole year, just in case I run into some problems?
> Are you authorized to e-file returns, and will you represent me in an audit or collection matter when it comes up?
> How do you guarantee your work?
> Can you give me a few client references? (Don’t forget to check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints.)
> Does the refund go to my account or yours? (The money must be sent to your account.)
Forget those who get paid by taking a percentage of your refund, claim to give you bigger refunds than anyone else, and “guarantee” results. The preparer you choose must be reachable after the return is filed, and will remain responsive to your needs Keep in mind that e-filed returns are typically processed more quickly than returns which are mailed. Check with the treasury to know the processing time frames instead of relying on the preparer.
It is always worth repeating that taxpayers are responsible for whatever is in their returns, even if these were prepared by someone else. Never sign the document until you have reviewed it. See if all your personal information is accurate, like your Social Security number, address, types and sources of income, and so on.
Don’t sign a form that is blank, and never use pencil when signing. Tax preparers need to sign the return, fill in the parts on the document(s) and give you a copy of your own. Always demand for a copy, making sure you keep it for reference later on.
Researched here: this website