A tax accountant is a person who professionally handles your taxes if you hire him/her. They can even sign documents on your behalf. They can handle taxes on behalf of a single person, a family or a company. It is essential to choose the right tax preparer, as they learn most of your private and personal information. Moreover, the taxpayers are responsible for all the information provided for tax returns, regardless of who prepared it.
We have compiled a list of few tips that you need to keep in your mind while choosing a tax return preparer:
- Check the Tax Accountant’s Qualifications: Before even considering someone with all your private and confidential data, use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers for their credential and their specialization. Since there are different types of tax preparers, you should select them based on your needs and requirements.
- Check the Preparer’s History: As the taxpayer is responsible for all the data filed you need someone who is trustworthy. The best way to check for any issues is to dig around your tax preparer’s record. You can do so by contacting the Better Business Bureau and ask for any disciplinary actions and the license status for qualified preparers.
- Ask about Service Fees: You need to avoid preparers who ask for percentage in tax refunds or brag about how they can get bigger tax returns. Also, remember that while asking around for a preparer’s credentials and charges, you do not have to hand over your personal information like your Social Security number.
- Ask E-File: The quickest way to get your refunds is to file your federal tax return electronically and by using direct deposit. Therefore, make sure that your accountant can handle IRS e-file.
- Make Sure the Preparer is Available: You should avoid working with preparers who have unfixed schedules. Look for people who are available and will work without the pressure of time.
- Maintain Receipts and Records: Tax preparers who know their work well will ask you for your records and receipts. They should know your total income, tax deduction, and credit. Be sure to answer all their questions precisely to avoid any mistakes.
- Avoid Signing Blank Returns: Signing a blank tax form is never a good idea. Don’t work with people who like you to sign blank tax return forms.
- Review Before Signing: Evaluate all forms before signing them. If something does not seem clear, ask questions about it. You should be sure that the information is accurate before you sign the papers. Remember to make sure that your refund goes directly to you and your preparer’s bank account. The preparer should give you a copy of the completed tax return.
- Signs and PTIN: It is legally required that the tax preparers sign the tax return forms and include their PTIN. A PTIN or Preparer Tax Identification Number is allotted to give to them when they register at the IRS.
- Don’t Ignore Abusive Preparers: File a complaint against dishonest Tax preparers if you suspect tax fraud or find that they have abused their power use the 14157, Complaint Form.
Additional IRS Resources: