BBB Cautions Those Preparing to File Tax Returns

Better Business Bureau says do your homework before hiring a tax firm.


Finally getting around to preparing your Federal tax return? Before you hire a firm to help the cause, the Better Business Bureau is encouraging taxpayers to do some legwork before selecting tax preparation help.

Doing your research ahead of time may help you avoid getting hit with fines and fees if your return isn’t correct or filed late. According to the IRS, taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their tax return, even if it is prepared by someone else, so, it’s important to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare your return. 

“For many people, working with a tax preparer provides peace of mind,” said Paula Fleming, vice president of the local BBB. “However, since tax professionals have access to so much of your personal information, you want to be sure to check out their background and qualifications.” 

The BBB offers the following advice on how to find a trustworthy tax preparer:

• Ask around. Get referrals from friends and family on who they use and check BBB reports on tax preparers and tax preparation services at bbb.org

• Look for credentials. Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney, an enrolled agent or certified E-file provider. Be sure to find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides or requires its members to pursue continuing education and holds them accountable to a code of ethics. 

• Make sure they have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). A PTIN must be obtained by all tax return preparers who are compensated for preparing or assisting in the preparation of, all or substantially all, of any U.S. federal tax return, claim for refund, or other tax form submitted to the IRS. 

• Investigate whether the preparer has any questionable history with your state's Board of Accountancy (for CPA's), the State Bar Association (for attorneys) or the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for enrolled agents. 

• Don't fall for the promise of big refunds. By wary of any tax preparation service that promises larger refunds than the competition, and avoid tax preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund. 

• Remember that a Paid Preparer is required by law to sign your return and fill in the preparer areas of the form. They should also include their appropriate indentifying number on the return. In addition, the preparer must give you a copy of your return. 

• Think about accessibility. Many tax preparation services only set up show for the months leading up to April 17. In case the IRS finds errors, or in case of an audit, you might need to be able to contact your tax preparer throughout the year; be sure to find out how you would do so. 

• Read the contract carefully. Read tax preparation service contracts closely to ensure you understand issues such as how much it is going to cost for the service, how the cost will be affected if preparation is more complicated and time consuming than expected and whether the tax preparer will represent you in a case of an audit.

Sara Fred February 21, 2012 at 09:40 AM
There isn't a good reason to hunt constantly all around the internet to get hold of a tax expert if ConsumerTaxReports.Org does almost everything to suit your needs. I can't help but recommend everybody with tax troubles to check out this informative website with its priceless information and facts. With many companies participating in deceitful trade practices it truly is harder to know what people to trust before you actually choose a business for help. ConsumerTaxReports.Org keeps every one of the specialists they investigate liable for its products and services, charges, employees, and internet based standing. Look at the website prior to when you sign with any organization. Http://www.consumertaxreports.org
Boston BBB February 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Be sure to go to facebook.com/BBBconnection to be alerted to the latest scams and get trustworthy tips from your BBB!
Sara Fred February 23, 2012 at 09:19 AM
All of this doesn’t shock me. Let's hope they're being held to blame for swindling folks. Research the offers completely if you are searching to employ an individual. ConsumerTaxReports.Org is a wonderful source of information if you’re looking to rely on else. These people review tax firms on your behalf and offer charges and what to expect from their services. http://Consumertaxreports.Org


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