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