For 2013, more than 140 million tax returns were filed and half were prepared with the help of a paid return preparer. Many taxpayers hire a return preparer to handle their tax returns to assist with the ever changing tax credits and deductions; shifting tax laws make it difficult for individuals to save the most in taxes without professional help.
"With the upcoming filing season, some taxpayers may want to get help with the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and tax professionals provide one of several options available," IRS Commissioner Koskinen said. "Most people only have to check a box on their Form 1040 return to indicate they have health care coverage, but some taxpayers claiming exemptions from coverage and those without coverage and those with premium tax credits may have questions. Tax professionals will be able to help guide taxpayers through what they need to do in these circumstances."
Even though hiring a return preparer simplifies filing, falling victim to a fraudulent tax preparer leads to tax complications and, many times, loss of money. The following tips will help you choose a tax return preparer that is legitimate and competent:
- Check the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) of your preparer and keep it in your records. Make sure the PTIN is valid for 2015. Only tax return preparers with a valid PTIN are allowed to prepare federal tax returns.
- Research online about the return preparer to gain more information.
- Gather information about the professional standing of the preparer. Tax attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents can prepare tax returns. Check to see if they attend continuing education classes or belong to a professional organization. Tax return preparers, however, are not required to be an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent to prepare tax returns.
- Know the total fee to be paid. Never agree to a fee based on the percentage of your tax refund. Fraudulent tax preparers use this strategy to claim false credits and deductions on your return to increase their fee.
- Never sign your return before all the information has been included in it.
- Get the contact information of the tax preparer so that you can contact them after the filing if you wish to.
- Your refund must reach your address or your bank account, and not the return preparer.
To learn about the different types of return preparers, you may visit this IRS page: IRS tax pro association partners.
Labels: IRS, Tax Code, Tax Filing, Tax News, Taxpayers