Top Tips for Choosing the Right Tax Preparer
Choosing the best tax preparer to handle your returns can be daunting due to the many choices available. Here are things to consider when you are choosing a tax preparation service.
Check if the tax preparer you are considering has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). It is a requirement for anyone preparing tax to have a valid PTIN. It is also important to ensure that they have the right education and training for the job before you hire their services. A good preparer would have passed the IRS exam and attend continuing education classes every year. Good preparers will have a membership with professional organizations or associations.
Conduct some background check of the preparer to see if they have a questionable history. Use word-of-mouth to know the reputation of a preparer to help you make an informed decision. Another good way to ensure that the person having access to your information is trustworthy is by checking if they have any disciplinary issues or complaints with Better Business Bureau. You can verify the status of their licences with IRS for enrolled agents, state board of accountancy for accountants and state bar for lawyers.
Availability of the tax preparer is another crucial thing to consider when you are making your decision. A good preparer will be available even when the tax season is over. It should also not be difficult to reach them by phone in case the return needs amendment or when IRS asks you questions regarding your return.
Inquire how long the tax preparer has been in business before you make your decision. You can also determine their experience by inquiring how many business returns they handle in a year. Besides, a tax preparer who is experienced will be familiar with the current tax codes so that they can be able to handle your return as required.
Before you make any hiring decision, it is important to inquire what services are included as well as their fees. Apart from handling your return, there are preparers who will also offer audit services while some only specialize in returns. Be vigilant of preparers who base their fee on a proportion of your refund.
Any professional tax preparer will ask you to provide them with your records and receipts and ask questions in order to ascertain your total income and deductions. Do not consider a preparer who is looking to e-file your return by using your last pay stub and not your Form W-2.
Lastly, find out how the preparer is going to protect your information including your legal name, income, address, social security number, and investments. Besides, a competent and professional preparer will follow the security measures set by IRS in order to prevent access to this information by third-parties.