Tax laws keep changing every year, and they are so complex that the process of claiming any savings on offer is itself more trouble than its worth. You have decided on hired help for tax filing. The helping hand is required to be professionally trained and accredited, and trust worthy. You are ultimately responsible for your tax return although someone else may have prepared it. You sign on the dotted line on the 1040, and so the responsibility to find an ethical and well-informed preparer lies solely with you. A good tax preparer will provide strategic services with speed, precision with an in-depth knowledge of managing multifarious tax situations.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while choosing your tax preparer so that you do not end up with an error-ridden tax return:
- Check on the IRS certification
Always check out the short listed tax preparer’s qualifications, prior history and professional affiliations. Ensure the preparer has the IRS accredited Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Check out your state accountancy board, CPA council or your local IRS office to ensure there are no grievances against the person you are planning to hire.
- Check out the fee charged
Ideally, the service charges should not be a percentage of your supposed refund. This is usually an indicator that tax boundaries will be pushed that much more, and unlawful practices adopted to get you more money than you are legally entitled to just because your preparer can get more out of your return.
Preparers who promise to obtain large refunds are best avoided – any tax return properly prepared will have all preparers come up with essentially similar numbers on tax & refunds.
- Ensure accessibility of tax preparer
Make sure you hire a preparer who is around even after the tax filing season ends so that you can have help at hand in case of any possible questions from the IRS.
- Always review your tax return
Read through your prepared tax return thoroughly and attempt to understand the entries made. If you are uncertain about any entry, have it clarified with your preparer. In case a satisfactory answer is not forthcoming, do not approve the return. Any preparer who is unable / unwilling to explain entries made on your 1040 and other schedules is inept and unworthy of hiring.
Surely, checking out the credentials of your tax preparer is time-consuming. However, it is time well used up considering the potential advantages on offer.