July 27, 2007, Newsletter Issue #74: How to Choose Your Paid Tax Preparer

Tip of the Week

Many times, it is worth it to pay for someone to prepare your income tax return. This is especially true when you have a large amount of income from various sources and numerous corresponding expenses. And, if you are unsure about how to handle any area of the tax law, a paid professional will save you time and frustration. A paid preparer will, hopefully, know the ins and outs of the Internal Revenue Code. Their main goal should be to help you learn about the tax laws, how they affect you, and help you save money. Be sure to check the credentials of any tax professional you want to hire. Check their license, ask for their resume, check with the Better Business Bureau. In other words, be informed about the firm or individual you will be trusting with your financial information.

Check references. Call around to check into their general character. Are they community involved? Do others speak highly of them? These are important characteristics. When choosing a paid tax preparer, you also need to interview the person to qualify them. Their answers and how they suit your needs will determine which paid preparer to choose. Some questions you may want to ask them include:
What are their fees? Some charge per return, while others charge per hour.
What is their tax experience, education, and background?
Will you qualify as a Third Party Designee? If not, why?
Would anyone else work on my return? If so, who?
What records will you need?
What references can you give me?
You are entrusting a paid tax preparer with your personal financial information. You must choose one that you are comfortable with.

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