Considerations for Taxpayers when Searching for a Tax Preparer
“Taxpayers should choose wisely when finding a tax professional. This is because it’s ultimately the taxpayer who is responsible for all the information on their income tax return, no matter who prepares the return. Here are some tips to consider when selecting a preparer:
- Check the Prepares Qualifications: Credentials such as Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Enrolled Agents (EA), or Tax Attorneys are highly regarded professionals in the tax service industry. When searching for CPAs, EAs, and Attorneys, you may take it a step further and validate their credentials with the State Licensing Board in the state they practice in. EAs can be verified through the IRS.
- Ask about Service Fees: Avoid preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the taxpayer’s refund. This is considered an un-ethical practice for those credentialed as CPAs, EAs, and Attorneys.
- Check the Prepares Year-round Availability: Avoid “fly-by-night” prepares. Developing a long-term relationship with your tax professional is best, as the better they know your financial history, the better they can provide you guidance and advice. Some preparers are only available during tax season, which makes it inconvenient for the taxpayer if they have questions or issues at other times of the year.
- Provide Records and Receipts: Good preparers will ask to see a taxpayer’s records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to figure things out like total income, tax deductions, and credits. Even better preparers will meet with you prior to year-end to run tax projections for better tax planning.
- Review Before Signing: Taxpayers should review their tax return prior to signing. Your tax professional should be able to answer and explain any questions you may have regarding the information within your tax return. “