7 things to keep in mind when choosing a tax preparer (protect yourself)

Updated: Oct 28

Tax season is coming. Don't be shocked in the new year when you have to scramble to find your documents and also a preparer! Not all tax preparers are created equally.


Dealing with the IRS

There are many instances when you might come up against the IRS. But in any case you always retain the right for representation.


1. Search in the right place

Check the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers. This searchable and sortable public directory helps taxpayers find a tax return preparer with specific qualifications.


2. Check their history for red flags

Check the preparer's history with the Better Business Bureau. Taxpayers should check for any disciplinary actions for credentialed tax return preparers. For CPAs, taxpayers should check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, they should check with the State Bar Association. For enrolled agents, they can verify the agent's status on IRS.gov.


3. Ask about fees

Taxpayers should avoid tax return preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund or who offer to deposit all or part of the refund into their own financial accounts. They should be wary of tax return preparers who claim they can get larger refunds than their competitors.


4. It's not too late

Ask if the preparer plans to use IRS Free File. Taxpayers should make sure their preparer offers to electronically file their tax return using IRS Free File. Sending in a tax return by mail is still possible but it may result in a delayed refund. It is less reliable and less discouraged by the IRS.


5. Are they there for you?

Make sure the preparer is available. Some tax preparers only work on a seasonal basis. Taxpayers should consider whether the tax return preparer will be around after the filing deadline has passed. Taxpayers should do this because they might need the preparer to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return. At RITBSINC we offer free consultations year around. It is our goal to answer any and all questions you have regarding your taxes. Book a free consultation now.


6. Get those details

Ensure the preparer signs and includes their preparer tax identification number. Paid tax return preparers must have a PTIN to prepare tax returns. Preparers must also sign returns and include their PTIN.


7. Choose the right preparer for you

Understand the preparer's credentials. Enrolled agents, CPAs, and attorneys have unlimited practice rights and can represent taxpayers on any tax matter before the IRS. However, tax return preparers who participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program have limited practice rights. They must have prepared and signed the tax return and can only represent the taxpayer for Taxpayer Advocate Service and customer service activities, only before any examination of the tax return.



Conclusion

It can be overwhelming to find someone you can trust. Thankfully there are organizations that organize all of that sort of data (as found above). We hope you stay safe and get your taxes done in time. Please reach out if you have any questions or if you are interested in working with us.




This blog post is not a substitute for legal or financial advice and is not liable for any misinformation that may have been provided. This information has been provided by the IRS.

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