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Strategies for Deciding on an Income Tax Preparer

Ensure the preparer has the necessary credentials. The new tax rules mandate that anybody who charges clients to prepare their tax returns also obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Make sure they have a PTIN, but also find out whether they are part of any professional organizations and participate in regular training sessions. Those not enrolled agents, CPAs, or attorneys will soon be required to pass an exam to prove they are up to snuff on tax law basics before they can practice before the IRS. Those who are required to take the exam will be eligible to use the title “Registered Tax Return Preparer” after they have passed it.

Secondly, research the background of the preparer. Investigate the preparer’s BBB rating, as well as their disciplinary history and current license status with the appropriate state boards of accountancy, bar organizations, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Enrollment Office.

Find out how much tax relief professional charge for their service. Steer clear of tax preparers that charge a part of your refund or who guarantee greater returns than their competitors. If you’ve ever owed a refund, check that it’s been paid to you or placed into an account that bears your name. Never give the preparer access to your tax refund by depositing money straight into their bank account.

If you’re submitting paperwork, number four is to see if you can do it electronically. If you are a paid preparer with more than 10 customers, you must offer your returns online unless your clients specifically request paper filing. Since the introduction of electronic filing in 1990, more than a billion individual tax returns have been handled safely and securely. Do your best to find a preparer who supports e-filing with the IRS.

Be sure you can reach your tax preparer easily. If you need to get in touch with your tax preparer for any reason after the April deadline, be sure they can be reached.

Six, provide the tax preparer access to all relevant documents and invoices. A professional tax preparer will ask you many questions and seek documentation to evaluate your income level and eligibility for various tax breaks. Until you have your Form W-2 in hand, you shouldn’t get your taxes prepared online—infraction of IRS e-file guidelines.

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