It is getting to be that time of year when the white haired man comes around. Not Santa but Uncle Sam. Your favorite wants his “taste” of what you made in 2010. There are some things you can do to make sure you have the right person helping you with your tax return.
- Are they qualified? – This sounds like a simple question but it is important. Just because someone has a sign on the door saying they do taxes does not mean they know what they are doing. Many times if unsure who to use it is better to pick someone that is associated with a national organization. This will mean they have the resources necessary to do the job and have to adhere to a code of ethics.
- If there a history?- Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if this tax preparer has any complaints. Does the state board of accountancy have an record of disciplinary actions or censure? What is the status of their license?
- Fees- Everyone has to make a living and this person is no exception. The least expensive is not always the best. Still you should know the cost up front. Avoid preparers who base their fee on the amount of your refund or who say they will get you a higher refund than other preparers.
- Communication – Make sure you are going to be able to reach them after April 15th. Are they open year around or just during tax season.
- Records – If they are qualified they are going to want to see all your records and receipts. They should ask questions about your business or career. Avoid someone who does not do these things.
- Signatures – NEVER sign a blank return or form. This is a huge red flag.
- Review – Make sure and review the entire form before you sign. You are legally liable for the return,
- Make sure the preparer signs – If the preparer is paid they are required to sign the return by law. You are still responsible for everything on the return but they must also sign.
Most tax preparers are honest and want to do a good job. However, just like all professions there are those that have no ethics. Do not hesitate to question or report the tax preparer if you have any concerns.