Some 60 percent of Americans hire others to do their taxes for them, which means a lot of us are looking for a tax pro to hire right now. The March issue of ShopSmart, a magazine put out by Consumer Reports, shares five questions you should ask anyone you’re considering hiring.
1. What kinds of clients do you usually work with? Look for a preparer with clients similar to you.
2. What are your credentials? Look for a preparer who has passed recent state or federal tests and 7 to 10 years experience.
3. Will you file my returns electronically? Filing electronically ensures fewer mistakes and helps speed your refund.
4. Can you give me a price quote? Try to get a price quote by presenting last year’s forms. Ask for all fees and avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund.
5. Do you provide audit help? CPAs and enrolled agents can usually represent you before the IRS, but you might have to pay extra.
In case you missed these resources to file taxes for free:
If you make less than $49,000 you can get free tax preparation and e-filing through the IRS’ VITA program.
File your taxes for FREE through AARP, even if you’re not a senior.
No matter what your income, file your taxes for free online through the IRS’ Free File Fillable Forms.
And there are lots of coupon codes for tax software, like this tax software coupon for 25% off at H&R Block At Home.