Hiring a Tax Return Preparer - What You Must Know

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:

To learn about the different types of return preparers, you may visit this IRS page: IRS tax pro association partners.

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