Finding the right person or company to prepare your taxes is an important choice. You want someone who will do the research to get you the best possible refund for your situation. Of course, you need someone who will do so ethically and responsibly. And you don’t want to pay more than necessary or wait forever to have those returns completed. So how do you go about finding the best person for the job?
Many people start with recommendations from friends and family. Knowing who others trust is a valuable guide to who might work well for you. Checking with the Better Business Bureau is another good way to verify the history of a potential tax preparer.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the tax preparer before committing. Some important things to know up front include whether the preparer will e-file for you. Get a quote for preparation fees ahead of time and an estimated time-frame for completion.
After your taxes are completed you can protect yourself in several ways. Review the completed return before signing. Make sure that the refund is coming back into your bank account by double checking the routing numbers. Be sure that the tax preparer has included their PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) with their signature before you pay for their service. The IRS is seeing a rise in the number of what they call “Ghost Tax Preparers”. These scammers can cheat you out of the fee that they charge without being actual certified preparers. So make sure your satisfied and everything looks correct before making that payment.
If you have issues or concerns with your tax return, please report it to the IRS. Complete IRS Form 14157 to file a complaint or if you suspect illegal practices. This is the best way to be sure that unethical behaviors are stopped and don’t recur in the future.