Tips for Finding a Qualified Tax Preparation Professional

Tax Preparation Preparer Professional Qualified Credential

Qualified Tax Preparer

If you have had any level of financial success, you have probably considered hiring a qualified tax preparer. Hiring a qualified tax preparer with good references and solid credentials has become increasingly important over the last several years, in part because of the growing number of people who pose online as tax experts. In fact, approximately 80% of people who have used a tax preparer in the past have admitted that they have never asked their tax preparer for his or her credentials.

Because of this, we have created a list of tips to help you weed out the good from the bad.

Ask Preparer for His or Her Tax ID Number

Believe it or not anyone who prepares taxes for the IRS is required by law to have a Preparer Identification Number, unless you are a volunteer. If you’re paying someone to prepare your taxes asks for their PTIN this not only protects you but it will insure you that the person who’s preparing your taxes has the legal documentation to be doing so.

Work Exclusively with CPAs

While some people may settle for just someone who has a PTIN, you may be one of those people who needs to take it a step further by only hiring a CPA. This designation shows that the person is both qualified and capable of performing essential accounting tasks.

Seek Out Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are a great way for you to identify qualified tax preparers. Examples of such organizations include the National Association of Tax Professionals and the Academy of Attorney CPAs.  The professionals in these organizations are generally not only credentialed but also are required to abide by a certain set of ethics and rules.

Ask Them to Sign on the Dotted Line

This may sound like a weird question to ask, but keep in mind that if you are paying your preparer the law requires that they sign your returns and put down their PTINs. If for some reason your preparer refuses to give you either of those pieces of information, run. They may be looking to only prepare your taxes so that they can steal your refund.

Make Sure You Trust Them

If you hire a tax preparer, you will want to make sure you trust them. Of course, you want to trust them for the obvious reasons; however, you will also want to make sure that you trust this individual to represent you in case you are later audited by the IRS.

What issues have you ran into when hiring a tax preparer? Leave your comments below.

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