Tax preparation is no easy job. The IRS finds that more than half of tax payers hire a professional to do this daunting task every tax season. You shouldn’t select just anyone to do your taxes – think about it, you are providing this individual with some of your most personal information (income, social security numbers, investment information, etc.).
The second factor to put into play in addition to being trustworthy, is to ensure you select an experienced tax professional. In an undercover investigation in 2014, the Government Accountability Office found that only 2 of 19 tax preparers calculated the correct refund! In fact, hairdressers in the United States have more regulatory requirements than tax preparers do.
MONEY offers us a detailed four-step guide to assist in finding the right professional.
Included in this article:
Selecting the Perfect Tax Professional
See the difference between:
- Enrolled Agents
- Tax Attorneys
- Annual Filing Season Program Participants
- PTIN Holders
Check Out Your Tax Preparer
- Check qualifications
- Background Check
- Look for Red Flags
- Ask Questions
Ask About Tax Preparation Fees
- Average cost of hiring a Tax Professional
- How to ask what the fee is
Review Your Tax Return
Ultimately what is filed to the IRS is YOUR responsibility, not your Tax Preparer’s. Always look over your paperwork carefully before filing and don’t be afraid to ask questions if something seems off.