This year’s tax deadline, April 17, is looming. Have you done your taxes, yet? If you’re opting to hire a tax professional to complete your taxes, I share 8 tips for finding a reliable tax preparer.
- Check the preparer’s history. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to see the ratings and complaint record on the preparer.
- Check to see if they are licensed. You can do this through the state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants, the state bar associations for attorneys, and the IRS Office of Enrollment for enrolled agents.
- Ask about fees. Avoid preparers who charge fees based on a percentage of your refund or who promise bigger refunds than their competitors — this should be a red flag!
- Ask if they offer electronic filing. Any preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients must file the returns electronically, unless you opt to file a paper return.
- Ask about the process for receiving your refunds. You want your money to be sent to to you or deposited in an account in your name.
- Avoid preparers who ask you to sign a blank return. Taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else.
- Make sure the preparer signs and includes his or her Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). This year, new regulations require all paid tax preparers to have a PTIN. A PTIN is not required if you get your taxes done for free.
- Make sure the tax preparer will be around. You want someone who is available to you even after April, in case questions or issues come up.
I’m always amazed by those who wait till the last minute to do their taxes because I can’t wait to get them done. I’m a wuss. I don’t like messing with the IRS. I ended up paying big this year. Will you be paying also? Here are some options for paying a huge tax bill.
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