TEN QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A TAX PREPARER
It’s the time of the year when many of you are searching for a tax professional to help file your taxes. It is extremely important to choose your tax professional wisely.
As a taxpayer, you are responsible for all the information on the tax returns. So, you need to ensure you ask the right questions.
Below are the list of questions which you can ask when choosing a tax professional
- Ask about their service fees : There are many tax preparation companies who provide you with low cost option & who base their fees based on the expected refund. This may often not be the right criteria. Instead, look for tax professionals who base their fees on complexity of the tax return & who are familiar with your individual tax situations/ specialize in your industry ( if it is for a business tax return).
- e File option : Unless, it is an amended return most tax preparers should be able to e File the tax returns for you. Verify if they are offering IRS e File.
- Check preparer qualifications : The below link has all the information to verify the preparer qualifications. Preparer credential history
- Data security : Ask your tax preparation service company how they store the tax documents both hard and soft copy. A well managed tax preparation company will ensure they have good processes and security systems in place to backup and manage sensitive data.
- Quality and accuracy : Ask your tax preparer, how do they ensure good quality service and accuracy. Errors and omissions only lead to additional time & unnecessary costs for the taxpayer.
- Provide records and receipts : A good tax preparation company will ensure they have a process in place eg: organizer for organizing taxpayer data. Also, they will request additional information on complex tax scenarios. As a taxpayer you are responsible for your tax return so you need to ensure you have the right tax documents useful to prepare the tax return.
- Signing a blank tax return : Never sign a blank tax return and never sign the tax return without reviewing. If you do not understand, sections of the tax returns stop and ask questions. IRS imposes taxpayer penalties for negligence & as a taxpayer you may be liable to pay negligence penalties and interest.
- PTIN : Every tax return preparer is granted a preparer identification number. Ensure your preparer signs off the tax return with the PTIN.
- Preparer availability after tax deadline : Are they available to answer any questions post tax season or are they only open during the tax season. Many times, you may receive smaller queries or notices from the IRS. It is extremely important that your tax preparer is available to help answer these questions.
- Errors and omissions : There is always a possibility for errors and omissions on your tax returns. So, ask your tax preparer how they handle errors or omissions. Do they charge an additional fee or are these part of the tax engagement.
Below is the link to IRS videos on how to choose a tax preparer. https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/choosing-a-tax-professional
Posted In: Tax