10 Tips to Finding the Right Gulf Coast Tax Preparer
Tax season is in full swing. With the ongoing changes to the tax code, the process of preparing and filing tax returns can be daunting. For that reason, many people rely on the help of a seasoned tax preparer. If you are enlisting the expertise of a Gulf Coast tax attorney, it’s important to select a professional who best meets your needs.
Here are 10 tips to help you find the right Gulf Coast tax preparer:
- Work only with a qualified preparer. Paid tax preparers are legally required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN. Make sure to ask for this number before making your final decision. In addition, it’s a good idea to select a preparer who is actively involved in continuing education. As you know, tax laws change frequently, and you’ll want to work with someone who is keeping up with those changes.
- Check the preparer’s reputation. One easy way to accomplish this is to check with the Better Business Bureau. Work only with licensed preparers who have a solid history and are free from disciplinary actions. Other information can be found at: the state board of accountancy (for CPAs); state bar association (for attorneys); and the IRS Office of Enrollment (for enrolled agents).
- Understand the fee structure. Don’t work with a preparer who charges a fee based on a percent of your refund. Also, avoid those who promise to deliver larger refunds. If you are entitled to a refund, make sure the IRS sends it directly to you or deposits it directly into your bank account. NEVER allow your refund to be deposited into a preparer’s account.
- E-File is safe. Paid professionals who prepare and file more than 10 returns for clients are generally required to file returns electronically. The IRS has safely processed more than 1.2 billion e-filed tax returns.
- It’s reasonable to expect a little hand-holding. You deserve to have your questions addressed in a timely manner. Make sure to work with a preparer who will answer your questions before, during, and after your return is filed. While this sounds obvious, not all preparers are great communicators. Select a preparer that you are confident will your answer questions as needed, even after April 15.
- Provide records and receipts. Work with a preparer who asks probing questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. A professional will be able to identify tax saving opportunities that you may not have considered. Providing a complete financial picture with thorough records and receipts will help you obtain the best possible return.
- Never sign a blank return. Your return is a legal document. Never use a preparer who asks you to sign a blank return.
- Review your return before signing. At the end of the day, you are responsible for submitting an accurate return to the IRS. Before signing, carefully review your return and ask questions if something doesn’t make sense. Sign the return only when you are confident that the information reported is correct.
- Ensure the preparer signs the return and includes their PTIN. The law requires paid preparers to sign returns and include their PTIN. The preparer must also provide you with a copy of the finished return.
- Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Please report abusive and fraudulent tax preparers to the IRS. Complaints can be submitted by using IRS Form 14157. You should also file Form 14157-A if you suspect that a preparer filed or changed your return without your consent. These forms are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Did you know that filing your tax return is required by law? Not filing a return is a federal offense. The Willis Firm is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation: 877-254-4254 or online http://www.irsallstar.com/