Last year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that all tax-preparers are required to:

  • Register with the Federal Government
  • Pass a competency test
  • Take continuing education courses
  • Obtain a federal Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

But, even if they are registered and have a PTIN number, in some cases it may be wise to hire another tax preparer to review previous tax returns to make sure you claimed everything you were entitled to deduct.

  • Before hiring a tax preparer, consider the following:
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed
  • Check to see if they have a PTIN number from the IRS
  • If CPA or Attorney, check with your state’s professional board for complaints and if they have a current license
  • Ask what continuing education courses they have taken within the last 12 months
  • Ask if they belong to any professional organizations
  • Ask how long they have been preparing tax returns
  • Ask if he/she is familiar with the “type” of tax return you need to file
  • Find out how they determine the fees you will pay (will it be hourly or flat fee?)
  • How many clients have they represented in IRS audits?

The IRS has provided a directory of credentialed tax preparers to assist in finding the right preparer for your needs. 

A few things to keep in mind when selecting a tax professional:

  • Steer clear of tax preparers who claim they can get you a larger refund—without reviewing your paperwork first.
  • Steer clear of tax preparers who charge a “percentage” of your refund—the tax return may contain inaccurate info in order to pump up the refund amount.
  • Steer clear of tax preparers who have “a lot” of experience with representing clients who have been audited—this may be a sign that they claim “questionable” deductions. 

The IRS has compiled some tips when it’s time to choose a tax preparer.

Keep in mind, I’m not a tax professional, and this is just general information, but I have many clients who have had good and bad experiences. I’d be happy to share some of their experiences and if I may be of service, please give me a call.

For more information and guidance on choosing a tax preparer, visit the IRS website

Guardian Mortgage is a division of Sunflower Bank, N.A. NMLS #709491