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Some Recommendations from the IRS on what to look for in a Preparer
Check to be sure the preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Anyone with a valid 2015 PTIN is authorized to prepare federal tax returns. An important difference in the types of practitioners is “representation rights”. Learn more about the several different types of return preparers on IRS.gov/chooseataxpro.
Ask if they have a professional credential (EA, CPA, or attorney), belong to a professional organization or attend continuing education classes. A number of tax law changes, including the Affordable Care Act can be complex. A competent tax professional needs to be up-to-date in these matters. Tax return preparers aren’t required to have a professional credential, but make sure you understand the qualifications of the preparer you select.
Always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into your bank account.
Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file and ask that your return be submitted to the IRS electronically.
Make sure the preparer will be available.
Provide records and receipts. Good preparers will ask to see them. They’ll ask you questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not rely on a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
Never sign a blank return. Don’t use a tax preparer that asks you to sign an incomplete or blank tax form.
Review your return before signing.
Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN. Paid preparers must sign returns and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
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