Finding the Right Tax Preparer
If you choose to hire a paid tax preparer, it is essential that you find an experienced professional. Even if someone else prepares your return, you are still answerable for the content and for any extra payments, penalty and interest that might come from a miscalculation.
You may reside in a state where tax preparers don’t need to be licensed. However, a lot of tax professionals are licensed and certified, being part of professional organizations that call for a particular level of education and provide continuing training. Untrained tax preparers may neglect valid deductions and/or credits, which may lead to you paying more tax than you are supposed to. Services vary from one preparer to another, so you have to find one who provides the services you require.
Asking questions is important to make certain you are hiring a professional with the suitable skill level. These are smart questions to ask prior to engaging the services of a tax preparer:
> What kind of recognized tax training do you have?
> Do you have any professional licenses or designations, like certified public accountant (CPA), registered accounting practitioner (RAP), or accredited tax preparer (ATP)?
> Do you take continuous professional education courses from year to year?
> How long have you been in this line of work?
> Have you ever prepared a tax return that is relevant to my tax situation?
> How much do I have to pay you and how do you set your fee?
> Will you be around to help me with any issues I might have in the future?
> Do you do e-filing?
> Can you and are you willing to represent me in an any matter before the IRS or the state treasury if the situation calls for it?
> Can you give me a list of names of your past or current clients whom I can talk to about the quality of your work?
Ask your local Better Business Bureau if there are or were any complaints lodged against the particular preparer you’re considering.
> If the refund is going to be direct deposited, will my account receive it or yours? Your refund should always go to your account, period.
Keep away from those who assert they can fetch you more in refunds than other preparer can, those who “promise” this or that result, and those would like you to pay them a certain percentage of of your refund. Pick someone you will be able to reach even after your return has been filed and who is open and receptive to your needs. Keep in mind that e-filed returns are typically processed faster than returns that come through the mail. E-filed returns remain subject to assessment, and you have to rely on Treasury when it comes to the processing deadlines, not the preparer.
Source: Start your Tax Return