Did you find a trustworthy tax preparer this tax season? Perhaps, someone recommend one to you? Once you’ve gotten a name or two of possible enrolled agents, it’s time to make sure this person will do a good job and not take advantage of you. Hiring someone to handle your finances is a big deal and depending on your needs, it might not be cheap. So, do your due diligence. Here are the steps you should take and questions to ask:
It was recently reported that tax prepared altered clients’ tax returns without their knowledge to illegally get refunds. To avoid these kinds of tax preparers, the IRS recommends you check a company’s background at the Better Business Bureau or the IRS Office of Enrollment for enrolled agents.
Verify qualifications and credentials
Make sure the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), a number the government requires paid preparers to have. Additionally, you may ask the tax professional what professional organizations the preparer belongs to, how long the person has been doing tax returns, and education background. Ask for references and then call those people to find out if the tax preparer is reliable and professional.
Look for compatibility
You want someone who’s a good fit and makes you feel comfortable. You could ask the references given to you by the tax preparer what is it like working with him/her and in your interview with the preparer try to get a feel for his or her style and philosophy. Make sure they are ethical, professional and follow the tax law. It is the tax preparer’s job to get you the most refund but just make sure that the refund is justifiable and legally deserved.
Ask questions such as the following
When and how can you be reached? Can I contact you after the April due date if necessary? What do you charge? How are your fees calculated? Do you offer any other services? What records and receipts do you need from me? What happens if my return is audited? Do you offer electronic filing?
Make sure you Review all the forms before signing it and ask your tax preparer any questions you might have. Remember, THAT is the job of your tax preparer… to answer all your tax concerns and advice you. Call us if you still have not filed your taxes. We are located in Fontana, CA area. Remember, deadline is April 18!