Choosing a Tax Preparer who’s right for you can be a lot like the search for your future spouse. If you’re lucky, you find that person without having to endure too much heartache in the process. There are certainly many Preparers out there to choose from. Here are a few tips to help you find the one that’s right for you:
- A Good Preparer will spend a significant amount of time asking you questions about your current tax situation before they even sharpen their pencil to get started. He or she will also take the time to educate you throughout the process. They will make every effort to explain why certain deductions are or are not allowed and will provide guidance which will ultimately help you decrease your tax liability.
- Choose a Preparer who demonstrates enthusiasm for their work and operates in a professional and reputable setting. Chances are, if a Preparer is enthusiastic about doing taxes, they are keeping up-to-date with the most recent tax changes and are continuously seeking new information.
- Check your Preparer’s qualifications before you get started. How many years of experience do they have? Do they have any certifications? These are all good questions to ask in making sure that your Preparer has the skills necessary to complete your return.
- Once complete, make sure your Preparer can explain your return to you line by line using terms that you understand. Before you sign off, ask questions and make sure you are completely comfortable that the return has been accurately prepared.
- Last but not least…. Make sure your Preparer will be there for you down the road when you need them. If you get a letter from the IRS in August, will the Preparer be easy to reach? When you do reach them, will they be willing to help you? What if you need a copy of the return three years from now? Try to avoid Preparers who “set up shop” in a temporary location and then are nowhere to be found come April 15th.
The IRS is quick to acknowledge that most tax preparers are honest and capable professionals. In the event that you do encounter a less than qualified tax preparer, you can report them to the IRS by sending a letter or filing Form 3949-A.
By using these tips to guide you in your search for a Preparer, you stand a fairly good chance of finding a preparer with whom you can “live happily ever after”.