Ten IRS Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer
Many people pay to have their taxes prepared. You need to be careful when you pick a preparer to do your taxes. You are legally responsible for all the information on the tax return even if someone else prepares it. Here are 10 IRS tax tips (with some of my comments) to help you choose Leocha Taxes to be your tax preparer:
2. Check the preparer’s history. Most of my business comes from referrals from my clients and friends. Generally, you ask someone who is good before you expose all your financial information. I pay to belong to the TN Society of Enrolled Agents and the National Assoiciation of Enrolled Agents. I do not pay to belong to the Better Business Bureau but you can check with them and find that I have an A rating and no questionable history. Their site explains that only paying members can get a A+ rating. For Enrolled Agents, go to IRS.gov and search for "Verify Enrolled Agent Status".
3. Ask about service fees. Our fees are based on what work needs to be done. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who say they can get larger refunds than others can. We strongly encourage direct deposit because your refund is deposited to your bank account and is processed faster. We do not offer loans or bank products because we believe that if you efile with direct deposit that you should receive your funds within 10-20 days. Why pay for anything else?
4. Ask to e-file your return. Since we prepare and file more than 10 returns, we are required to efile all returns, and we strongly suggest efiling. It is quick and efficient. The only returns we do not efile are those that the customer demands to mail or those that cannot be efiled because they are too complex for the efile system.
5. Make sure the preparer is available. You need to ensure that you can contact the tax preparer after you file your return. We are open year around. Since we prepared the return, we believe we are the best ones to answer any IRS questions about the returns. Generally, there is no charge for this personalized service. More than this, if you need to plan ahead, we are here to help. Good planning beats failure to plan every day of the week.
6. Provide tax records. A good preparer will ask to see your records and receipts and ask you questions. How can anyone help you if they don't know what is going on? We are here to help you, not just slip numbers into a computer program. Do not use a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
7. Never sign a blank tax return. Do not use a tax preparer who asks you to sign a blank tax form.
8. Review your return before signing. Before you sign your tax return, review it thoroughly. Check your name, address, and social. Then go throuigh the numbers. .Ask questions if something is not clear to you. Verify your direct deposit or direct debit information. Make sure you’re comfortable with the information on the return before you sign it.
9. Preparer must sign and include their PTIN. Paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN as required by law. We are constantly fixing "self-prepared" returns that some else did. Remember that the preparer must also give you a copy of the return and your records. Even if you don't pay, you are entitled to your records and paid preparers cannot withhold them for non-payment. They do not have to file a return but they must return your documentation so you can go somewhere else or do it yourself..
10. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Go to www.irs.gov.
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